Links 1/31/17

Query for Readers

An expert (meaning Has Credentials) and guest blogger at Naked Capitalism would like to get an introduction to one of the Op-Ed editors at the Los Angeles Times (he once had senior contacts there but they’ve all moved on).

If you know someone in the Op-Ed section and can make a referral, please e-mail Yves at and put “Los Angeles Times” in the subject line. Yves can provide more information.

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Human forebear a bag-like beast with no anus: study France24. 2017 is already great.

3 More Scandals That Will Have You Saying, ‘WTF Wells Fargo’ Fortune. Nice to see it’s business as usual outside the hysteria in the Beltway.

Deutsche Bank Fined $204 Million by U.K. FCA Over Russian Trades Bloomberg. Ditto.

Former HBOS manager found guilty of corruption and fraud BBC. Ditto. “Sources close to the investigation say the total value of the fraud may be closer to £1bn.” That’s real money! Richard Smith comments:

Look how long it took from initial press reports by Ian Fraser, 2008, well enough documented to stand up to Scottish libel law (just about) to get to charges in Jan 2013, and then from charges to convictions in Jan 2017.

Yes, the problem most crooks have is that they just don’t steal enough.

Rapid Money Supply Growth Does Not Cause Inflation Evonomics

Lukoil Eyes Start Of Oilfield Development In Iran This Year (Re Silc).

How Russia sold its oil jewel: without saying who bought it Reuters (Furzy Mouse). Any actual evidence of who the buyer is, beyond speculation?

Hollywood as We Know It Is Already Over Vanity Fair

Nafta: First shots in a trade war FT


Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front Announces New Alliance (Re Silc).

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister. The Intercept

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

This Is How You Should Read French Election Polls Bloomberg

Brexit: MPs to begin formal process with two-day debate BBC

2016 Post Mortem

Lessons for “The Resistance” from the Bush Resistance Ian Welsh. Today’s must read.

Is liberalism to blame? Global Inequality. Throwing a flag on the Betteridge’s Law violation, but a fine bill of particulars. Cue the zither music.

Outrage About Trump Exposes “Librul” Hypocrisy Moon of Alabama. “Wherever you look, those Trump policies are building directly on, or simply repeat Obama policies. The now theatrically outraged people swallowed those without a word of protest.” Exactly. Out-of-power liberals want power back. It really is that simple.

Koch network could serve as potent resistance in Trump era WaPo (KF). Help me.

Trumpism Understanding Society

Man who fueled Trump’s voter fraud conspiracy is registered in 3 states AP. Now to find his body doubles, the ones that used each of his registrations….

Trump Transition

Lambert here: The contrast between Trump’s first week and Obama’s 100 days is stark. Whatever you may think of Trump’s policies, he is moving rapidly and forcefully to fulfill promises he made in the campaign. Exactly what Obama did not do. Remember all the Obot talking points? Like “He’s only been President ____ [days|weeks|months]”? Trump’s voters aren’t going to say that about him! Or “The President is not a dictator?” An Executive Order is not a state of exception, and (say) passing Medicare for All with reconciliation (or abolishing the filibuster) would not have been the act of a dictator. And yet liberals are still making excuses for their guy!

Weak and Incompetent Leaders act like Strong Leaders Tom Pepinsky. A useful read.

* * *

It Took Donald Trump 8 Days To Bring The U.S. To The Brink Of A Constitutional Crisis HuffPo. On the Trump’s Executive Order and the court orders: This is sloppy and tendentious. Look at the sourcing; the first is Cory Booker already running hard for 2020, then a bunch of Democrats, so the Mandy Rice-Davies rule applies. Of the two law professors quoted, neither describes the basis of the crisis, and one qualifies his statement with “assuming the report is accurate.” The writer is HuffPo’s Business Editor; it’s worth noting that WaPo’s sloppy and tendentious (and defamatory) PropOrNot story also came from the business side of the house; Craig Timberg is a technology reporter. The only care taken with this article was getting the talking point in the headline.

Trump Is Violating the Constitution David Cole, NYRB. Another constitutional crisis: The emoluments clause. See NC here and here.

The Inevitability Of Impeachment Robert Kuttner, HuffPo. The key? Moderate Republicans. Let me know how that works out.

How to Build an Autocracy David Frum, The Atlantic. “People crack jokes about Trump’s National Security Agency listening in on them. They cannot deeply mean it; after all, there’s no less sexting in America today than four years ago. Still, with all the hacks and leaks happening these days—particularly to the politically outspoken—it’s just common sense to be careful what you say in an email or on the phone.” Frum was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, who initiated a program of mass, domestic, warrantless surveillance that Obama voted to retroactively legalize (July 2008) after promising to filibuster it. I love it when architects are all “Who would want to live here?” when they’re talking about a house they designed and built.

Questions Abound in Wake of Trump Firing Acting AG Roll Call. A good round-up. If a Justice Department official doesn’t believe in an Executive Order, then they should resign, which is what Yates, [adding] in effect, did. The President isn’t in any way obligated to retain a holdover political appointee. So this is not ZOMG!!!! Constitutional Crisis!!!! material; the Democrats have the talking point, but not the analytical backup. And where was the hysteria when Obama decided he could whack US citizens on his “disposition matrix” without judicial review? And did so? Sure hope Trump doesn’t start using that precedent!

The President’s Generals Harvard Political Review. Interesting take.

* * *

Trump’s Refugee Ban and the Legal Landscape Ahead: QuickTake Q&A Bloomberg

Donald Trump backs down on green card immigrants FT

Who Is Thomas Homan? Donald Trump Chose A New Immigration & Customs Enforcement Director Bustle. Given the Presidential Rank Award by Obama in 2015.

Donald Trump immigration ban: Barack Obama hits out, warning ‘American values’ are at stake The Independent. Obama: “Citizens exercising their Constitutional rights to assemble, organise and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.” Fine words butter no parsnips….

* * *

What Happens If Net Neutrality Goes Away? MIT Technology Review. Our elites are so stupid and venal they’re trying to turn the Internet into TV. See many small companies in broadcast TV?

Donald Trump Teases His Supreme Court Nominee Announcement on Twitter ABC. Tonight! During prime time! I’m guessing Larry Tribe. Kidding!

Trump Pledges ‘Big Number’ on Dodd-Frank in Anti-Rule Push The Hill. When Democrats play small ball, it’s easy for Republicans to do a big number on them. All baked in, in 2009.

Trump’s Bid to Slash Regulations Faces Bureaucratic Roadblocks Bloomberg

Trump’s draft cybersecurity policy has no role for FBI McClatchy

President Donald Trump to Add CIA Director to National Security Council WSJ. So now we’re all friends.

One big reason Netflix isn’t scared of President Trump Business Insider

Democrats’ Secret Weapon: Republicans Own Everything Now New York Magazine

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Trump’s Flack Says She Doesn’t “Resemble” Terrorists: Except this One New Economic Perspectives

FBI Forced Twitter To Share User Data Without Legal Warrant, Company Reveals As Gag Orders Lifted International Business Times

Health Care

Repealing The ACA Could Worsen The Opioid Epidemic Health Affairs

For Some, the Affordable Care Act Is a Lifesaver. For Others, a Burden. NYT. ObamaCare is not a universal benefit. Some go to HappyVille, some go to Pain City….

Obamacare Deadline Is Here – Should You Sign Up? NBC News

Class Warfare

Labor Unions Appear Set For More State-Level Defeats In 2017 NPR. Too bad Obama never delivered on card check….

Department of Labor Finds Senator Brent Jackson’s Farm Broke Minimum Wage, Disclosure, Recordkeeping Regulations IndyWeek

Will Integrating Women into Armed Groups Prevent Rape? Political Violence at a Glance

Apocalypse then: America’s secret war in Laos FT. Where today’s CIA got its start.

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


    1. Skip Intro

      And ‘arming’ groups of ‘moderate’ republicans. The countries change, but the regime change playbook remains the same.

      1. Stelios Theoharidis

        I feel as if history, if it is not exceedingly revised, will judge the Obama administration in a rather modest light in comparison to the presidents preceding and succeeding him as well as the context of the greater forces of political capture surrounding the process of US political, social, and economic polarization / deterioration. More that it was a wasted opportunity to go after the various interests that have made the US political system sclerotic and continue to do so.

        Riding in on a wave of populism a centrist and neoliberal politician was elected by the masses who assumed he was a liberal, but only because they had little room for comparison after the Actor with Alzheimers who needlessly escalated the cold war, popularized horse and sparrow economics, brought the religious into the right, and began our foray into Afghanistan; the CIA director who gave us Clarence Thomas, invaded Kuwait and Panama; the sexual predator moderate southern Republican dressed as a democrat who pushed more poor black citizens into the prison system and deregulated the financial system, and the CIA director’s son nominated by the electoral college and his father’s supreme court nominees who launched the US into two wars which cost trillions of dollars and destroyed millions of lives on a flimsy pretext while also deregulating the financial system.

        Obama gathered around him much the same group of institutional democrats who had steered the sexual predator into deregulating the financial system. They lacked any new thinking from the old cold war dynamic and the history of both Democrats and Republicans supporting dictatorial regimes in order to assure low inputs and resource costs. They escalated the drone program and allowed our military industrial complex to stoke fears of terrorism so that the US could continue its foreign interventions without the skin-in-the-game that beset traditional invasion strategies of the past.

        They implemented conservative inspired reforms to the healthcare system, which only kicked the problems of escalating costs of private medicine down the road. They failed to jail any bankers which only galvanized their resolve to turn the financial system into a casino. Most worrisome, they allowed economic polarization to go unabated, providing context for billionaires to manipulate poor disenfranchised whites into becoming the shock troops of the meglomaniac sexual predator that succeeded him.

        But, at least he didn’t murder roughly a million people like Bush Jr. And, they didn’t waterboard and force feed detainees via their rectums. Window dressing on a declining republic. The meat grinder that is US style capitalism kept chewing up and spitting out the poor of the world. So on the net a positive. Nobel prize.

    2. uncle tungsten

      I suggest the people who still see the Dems as the way forward could be sincere and take a leaf out of the occupy guidebook.

      Every “our revolution” gathering or Democratic meeting should be greeted by Bernie Sanders people with a placard:-

      We have only one demand: Bernie Sanders = next President.

      Short circuit the BS and distracting vomit that issues from the machine Dems and cut to the chase. Make them eat their BS and their 2016 disaster.

  1. screen screamer

    Why is it that after 9 years of behaviors that can be described as unsavory, to be polite, Congress cannot find the intestinal fortitude to revoke the charters of these absolutely corrupt institutions? It is appalling to continue to read these articles in which it has been made abundantly clear that Wells, Citi, JPM and all the rest have no inclination whatsoever to reign in these abusive behaviors which have completely bankrupt an entire nation. Enough already!

    1. polecat

      CONgress IS the problem …. insider-trading grifters gotta grift …and to hell with the poor plebs !

      the real kicker …. they all keep getting voted BACK in office !

      ” Please Sirs/Mams ….. may i have another bowl of financially toxic stone soup ” ?

    2. Portia

      –Doctor, Doctor! My brother thinks he’s a chicken!
      **Well, bring him in, I may be able to help him.
      –I would, but I need the eggs…

    3. TulsaTime

      It should be obvious that congress is part of the distribution from the corruption in financial circles. On top of the fact that finance is the only way all those rich fuckers can manipulate their money, finance spins the damn world, and will till it all burns down.

    4. Oregoncharles

      I believe it ‘s states that issue corporate charters, mostly Maryland in the case of the really big ones.

      Not to let Congress off the hook.

    1. fresno dan

      January 31, 2017 at 8:01 am

      President Trump has inherited…


      This has been going on under both Bush and Obama, and both parties. The sickening hypocrisy of the repubs and “limited government” and the dems “civil liberty defenders” is astounding. A nation of laws, not men – unfortunately, laws are enforced …. or ignored, by men.

      The only good is that maybe Trumps’ actual USE of the police state, which is NOW OK to examine, will wake Americans up to the necessity that the Constitution was written with the understanding that the government just does not have exclusively altruistic people running it.
      But I doubt it. The laws won’t be changed. Because both parties have used fear of terrorism and a general mindset of running the world, to engage us in endless conflict, and expand the security state.

      1. mrsyk

        Besides, these laws are “carefully described in tiny paragraphs, so as not to conflict with the Constitution . . . which, itself, is being modified, in order to accommodate The Future!”. Thank you Mr. Zappa.

      2. Waldenpond

        There were some at the march smiling over and chanting at the National Guard. One wrote giddily about how those nice NG people were on their side, hugs and selfies, and NG taking pictures of the event for posterity.

        The fact that the heavily armed military is at every event is NOT a good thing. They are taking photos (from the top of an MRAD) to run through facial recognition.

        1. marym

          During Occupy in NYC and during a #BLM time of protest (don’t recall where), there were moments of playfully offering donuts to cops. There was a chant during Occupy “You’re sexy, you’re cute. Take off your riot suit.” This was among people who knew and experienced and protested police abuses, and it certainly didn’t continue as abuses escalated during these protests. But protest isn’t the goal, it’s part of a process of teaching, learning, mobilizing.

          I applaud people in pink hats who showed up at airports; and people who brought environmental and pro-science and healthcare, and peace signs to the women’s marches; and people who carry generic Love and We Shall Overcome signs that can go with them anywhere.

          Everyone’s not going to get to the same place at the same time. I have no idea how we all get there, or how to counter missteps along the way, but solidarity is built by showing it, not by withholding it.

            1. Waldenpond

              Blue vests were in during the primary. Then it was safety pins. They are appropriate for racial and anti-Trump election solidarity. The pussy hats were donned for the women’s march but I lost the list of the 10 identity politics demonstrations scheduled to follow… so I’m lost.

              I have this sense of dread there will soon be charm bracelets.

          1. Waldenpond

            Yes, there were interactions with the purveyors of state violence at both events. That’s it. You are conflating a non-aggressive strategy for disarmament and the reduction of the police state with acceptance of heavily armed military at events and the misinterpretation of why they are there. You are normalizing a police state.

            I find the protests opportunistic and lacking in principle. The Democrats base always demands solidarity for their identity politics issues. I am not your ‘we’.

            I agree that protest isn’t the goal. Remarketing Ds and turnout for 2020 is.

            1. marym

              If describing something comes across as “normalizing” it, I need to hone my writing skills. The NYC and BLM protesters were well aware of the dangers of the police state, and chose, at a somewhat non-threatening moment, to make a point by injecting a little something humane into the situation. Some in DC having lived more in the “thank you for your service” bubble may not have seen the implications of probably minimally armed NG. That’s the world that needs to be organized, not one where we set the goal of where everyone needs to be and then reject them because they’re not there.

        2. integer

          One wrote giddily about how those nice N[ational] G[uard] people were on their side

          That pretty much sums up the mindset of liberals imo. No amount of mental contortion will ever be too much for liberals to cast the establishment as the good guys, and themselves as good people because they support, and are therefore on the same side as, the good guys, i.e. the establishment. It’s a symptom of weakness imo.

    2. Andrew Watts

      Gee, I don’t recall anybody complaining about this when the yeehadists were taking over Malheur. If anything local people were livid that the Bureau didn’t storm in there and kill everybody or something. The governor was getting a lot of flak for not sending in the state police and/or National Guard to roll’em. I, on the other hand, had a lot of fun with that… maybe too much.

      I don’t understand the scare-mongering regarding the FBI. They’re probably the most sane agency out of the intelligence community. While they use some of the same methods as the past the aggressiveness factor isn’t there. They aren’t pursuing American volunteers fighting with the Syrian Democratic Forces as freverently as they persecuted the Lincoln Brigade. COINTELPRO wasn’t exactly a resounding success either. Their pursuit of the Weatherman didn’t go so well and ended with frustration and indictments levied against FBI agents.

      This comment is dedicated to all the brave American heroes lurking in the comment section.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Yes, it’s unhelpful to build those incubi up into bigger nightmares than they already are. The intrinsic scariness of the FBI and its kindred agencies elsewhere doesn’t need extra mongering.
        Then again, it’s no more fun to be caught up in a hapless trail of destruction than in an efficient one. Hoover-scale mayhem may not have been repeated recently, but stories from the receiving end (sorry no link: Counterpunch passim is a good place to start) suggest that it’s still more than enough.
        Meta-cops whose powers overlap with regular policing are better at sowing nebulous, dispiriting fear than those whose ‘mission creep’ is towards high geopolitics, because the former also contribute to vicious, petty local policing of the semi/il/legal things ordinary people sometimes have to do to survive: ‘grey markets’ (including but far from limited to drugs), welfare/tax ‘fraud’ (eg. not retiring your claim when the rules are changed without anyone telling you), immigration ‘offenses’ (likewise according to a murky and mostly improvized code), culpable homelessness (living under the wrong sort of roof or without one at all and in the wrong place).
        This is not to say the FBI, DGSI, GCHQ et al spend their time going after subtenants of municipal housing projects, but it’s fairly well documented that new surveillance powers are eagerly taken up at the pettiest level, eg. city councils’ Toughlove against non-criminal offenses, for which the ‘civil punishments’ can still ruin your life. (Best sources on this are the print-only UK ‘Private Eye’ and French ‘Le Canard Enchainé’, but even MSM eventually noticed: see eg. this loathsome UK ‘Observer’ (Sunday ‘Guardian’) article complaining that it doesn’t go far enough! []. The likes of the Telegraph & Daily Mail are more thorough in cricising this sort of thing on ‘Nanny State’ grounds, although they too applaud it when it targets their idea of the Wrong Sort of Poor.)
        Small-time, bigmouthed political activists who say James Comey is reading their tweets are mostly twitting out of another orifice, but the petty-police/municipal use of ‘high-level’ data sharing powers does the same job by shutting down the troublemaking potential of people whose personal legal position is vulnerable for other reasons. And that, of course, is a class matter: ‘left’ activism ends up in the control of upper/middle-class demographics who can afford the risk. In turn, this feeds the slur that the working class is ‘naturally’ right-wing. In two ways: 1. because a lot of people for whom eviction/zero income/arrest/confiscation of children is a day-to-day threat can’t risk getting involved, and 2. because even if they could, they would be put off if not actively thrown out by the upholstered Ethicists who, because of (1.), tend to be in charge of the ‘movements’.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I already wrote a long comment here and I’m not sure how much I can add without repeating myself ad nauseum. But there is a few things I can add.

          In terms of being worried about federal law enforcement the DEA is a far bigger concern. During the Clinton/Bush Administration years they ran their own illegal wiretapping operation with a corresponding metadata database. The whole marijuana issue is another concern since the immigration/sanctuary city is already a major source of tension between the federal and state/municipal governments.

          The small-time big mouthed Twitter activists you refer to, which I found to be a true and amusing description, aren’t engaged in any politicking that comes with any risk. The attention of Homeland Security and their fusion centers is a bad joke. It’s why the FBI dumps a lot of their meaningless workload efforts onto them.

          Meta-cops whose powers overlap with regular policing are better at sowing nebulous, dispiriting fear than those whose ‘mission creep’ is towards high geopolitics, because the former also contribute to vicious, petty local policing

          That’s still an issue under the control or influence of municipal governments.

          1. clinical wasteman

            Thanks Andrew for both posts and the link to the earlier one, which I somehow missed. I generally agree throughout all three. My reply was meant as no more than a sort of footnote to the effect that:
            1. at least in the jurisdictions I know anything about, overlap between agencies and powers is so messy that a correspondingly messy, unfocused dread of them all hardly seems unforgiveable, however unhelpful it may be.
            2. that a lot of the damage is done in ‘low level’, class-targeted types of enforcement, rather than high-profile political cases.
            I especially appreciate your breakdown of the various agencies’ role in the US. Point taken, and I would already have agreed that the DEA is scarier in terms of the constant impact on countless lives. So the observation that weaponized powers (eg. SWAT over the last decades of the last century) tend to trickle down to the neigborhood level may have been redundant, but it wasn’t meant to contradict what you said.

  2. jgordon

    First: “Weak and Incompetent Leaders act like Strong Leaders”

    Instead of Trump, let’s apply this guy’s rubric to Obama: a weak and incompetent leader who portrayed himself as a weak and incompetent leader. How would the author explain that one I wonder?

    Secondly Lambert’s comment: “Lambert here: The contrast between Trump’s first week and Obama’s 100 days is stark…”

    To make sure everyone got the point, even Obama’s own followers portray Obama as weak and incompetent. But then when you point out to them that they’re portraying Obama as weak and incompetent they freak and call you a racist. Well, logic and integrity are admittedly not strong points for Obama (and Hillary) supporters so it’s understandable.

    On hypocrisy, Trump has begun committing (what looks to be) war crimes in places we don’t even know we’re at war with yet. Basically SOP for US presidents near as I can tell. Anyway I now look forward to seeing all those Obama supporters who protested Obama when he took out that American teenager with a drone as well as all those who screamed their heads off in airports this past week to stream out into the streets and commit epic acts of mass civil disobedience and protest over the fact that Trump just had some 8 y/o girl wasted. Oh wait, that won’t happen. What was I thinking?

    Lest anyone forget, here’s a real gem: Obama joking about killing teenagers with a drone strike… when he actually later did kill an American teenager (irony alert: that girl’s brother!) with a drone strike! lol, that joker:

    “Questions Abound in Wake of Trump Firing Acting AG”

    With regards to this sort of insanity, I have been having loads of fun reading Huffington Post every day these past few months. These people are utterly and completely batsht crazy liars, and lack even the most basic sense of self awareness about it. It’s like reading the Enquirer to find out how aliens abducted Elvis and made him a lounge singer in the Ara’ki nebula, but better because the writers actually believe the crap they write (and I guess the readers believe it too?) I would say that reality is stranger than fiction, but maybe it’d be better to say that these guys are experts at turning reality into fiction. That goes for the rest of the lamestream media too.

    1. Leigh


      Turmp is in our front windshield right now – Obama is in our rear view mirror…I’m more concerned with what is coming at me than what I have already transversed – Enuff Obama already!!!.

      1. Roger Smith

        It is imperative that you and everyone understand and recognize both, else we repeat this same tired crap over, and over, and over, until it all collapses for good.

        Right now the “left” or liberals, or (as Moon of Alabama coined) Libruls, are not showing any signs of broad, comprehensive assessment or understanding.

        1. CRS

          The Moon of Alabama article is wrong. Here’s what it said:

          A Trump order yesterday introduced a temporary ban on visa holders and visa issuing to citizens of seven Middle East countries.

          Here are the facts from Bloomberg:

          The ban covered U.S. lawful permanent residents who have spent years following the law and building lives here, interpreters who heroically helped the U.S. military, children of U.S. citizens, dissidents who fought hostile regimes, scientific researchers, Syrian Christians, British Olympians, and endangered refugee children who were carefully vetted to be allowed into the U.S.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s wrong to leave things out, which Moon of Alabama did.

            Bloomberg is also wrong to not include in the list of U.S. lawful permanent residents those who have spent only months (not years) here managing apartments (for example).

        1. pretzelattack

          i just think we need to look out for the neoliberals trying to maintain control while we also fight trump. it’s a 2 front war.

            1. Buck Eschaton

              Well if you want a decent candidate to vote for in 2020, beating out the neoliberal/neoconservative wing of the Democratic party should be the main objective.

      2. Waldenpond

        Obama and his ilk, still are the D party. All of Obama’s victims (foreign and domestic) have yet to be dug from the vast swaths of rubble and grieved over.
        Stop making excuses for criminals. Can’t go after D politicians when they are running, that would weaken them. Can’t when they are in office, that would ruin their chance for reelection. Can’t when they are in their first term, their true colors will come out in their next. Can’t go after Ds when they are in power, it’s eleventy dimensional chess, they know things you don’t, it would be worse, boo. Can’t go after them when they aren’t in the majority even when it they vote for Trump’s nominees.

        Trump is a horror! Trump’s nominees are horror! Democrats voted for Trump’s nominees. Crickets.

        1. Leigh

          The History (in this case):
          Politian’s screw us. That pretty much sums it up.

          People have been trying to sort out the whys and hows for centuries and yet it still keeps happening.

          Never said to ignore the past – that’s a fooish. I just would rather spend more of my time watching the arrows that are coming at me as opposed to those that have landed behind me.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If only governments could be run without politicians.

            But then, we’d be likely to be left with monarchs and Mandarins, never the people to run governments.

          2. Pat

            Problem is that many of the arrows that are coming at you are from the past. This isn’t just a frontal attack, though our mindless press and most of the people running around with their hair on fire have yet to understand there are in the middle of a mine field crafted over a quarter of a century.

            1. Leigh

              One has to realize his or her “cognitive load limit” as well.
              Perhaps I have reached mine.

              I stand here with a bucket of water surrounded by a thousand fires – hard to know which one to throw my water at.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Sounds like the scene at the end of the film “Global Warming on a Pale Blue Dot in Space.’

              2. Code Name D

                We keep hoping you will figure out that Democrats like Obama keep handing you empty buckets – when they managed to give you anything at all.

                You are part of the abused, with Democrats being the abusers. But you will always keep going back to them every time because deep down you know in your soul that they truly love you and want to change.

                The rest of us however have ridden that marry-go-round one two many times. They will never stop taking advantage of you – because you will never stop enabling the abuse. Obama is not going to get a free pass this time.

        2. polecat

          The ‘future’ .. AND the present, are one of collapse .. on two ways and means about it !

          .. We’re all stair-steppin on down into the ditch .. time to throw some dice .. might just get double sixes.

          Pulls out trusty conch … ” Who will join my tribe ?!!”

      3. fred1

        The predicament we find ourselves in can be traced back at least 40 years. It can easily be argued, which I’m not going to do here, that our current situation can be blamed on both parties. What Obama did or didn’t do is only the most recent and the easiest to remember. To mitigate some of this will take at least as long. It is important that we know and understand what happened in the past to improve the chances of at least not allowing similar things to happen in the future and to improve the chances of undoing some of the mistakes.

      4. jgordon

        Well it does behoove you all to look back and remeber precisely what Obama did, because that will save you from looking like ignorant hypocrites when you go out to protest Trump for doing the same or less than Obama was doing. Like what happened with the immigrant ban nonevent this week.

        Sure, the fellow koolaid drinkers aren’t going to be too upset about a little convenient forgetting and double standards here and there–but you are needlessly making your opponents, and more importantly independents, despise you way more than they already do with that. Simply waving your hands and saying “all that’s in the past now!” isn’t going to cut it.

        That was a general you, I don’t mean you in particular.

        1. b1daly

          Your logic is faulty, and depressing.

          You are implying that if the “librul protesters” would just get as upset about Obama’s war crimes,, the “independents” (whoever that is) would then come around and admit that Trump is a billionaire thug, with an insatiable thirst for power?

          Aside from the fact that it’s hard enough to articulate a sound bite to put on your protest sign, let alone one that critics the whole US power structure, I fail to see how someone who doesn’t recognize the awfulness of Trump will have the shades fall from their eyes, just by harping on the flaws of the previous administration. On the contrary, this would make the average Trump voter that much more convinced of their rightness.

          We have gone from the Bush era of war crimes, to the Obama era of trying to dial back to the war crimes, without letting the whole imperialist edifice collapse, to the Trump era:

          Now we have a president who is not only “pro war,” he is “pro war crime.” This is absolutely unprecedented.

          I can’t believe supposed progressives, like Lambert, are putting out this Trump propaganda about how he is “fulfilling his campaign promises.” He’s signed a bunch of BS executive orders that do nothing but provide cover for the fascist coup he is orchestrating under our noses!

          The promise to “Drain The Swamp?” Trump has stuffed his administration with the worst type of swamp dwellers slithering around the upper echelons of the reactionary right.

          Not only has Trump not promised to scale back the out of control military spending in the US, he is claiming it is grossly deficient, and proposing to drastically increase it! This is like pouring gasoline onto a fire that’s burning your house down. I resent anyone that supports this idiocy.

          The political activities today around not cracking down on the pharmaceutical companies is all too predictable, and telling.

          If you think Trump is going to help the common man, you are out of touch with objective reality.

          Trump cares only about his own desire for power, money, and glory. His faux populism was nothing but carefully crafted BS, designed to appeal to a disenfranchised demographic that he intuited he could mesmerize with his macho man charisma. Nothing he says can be taken at face value.

          I don’t for a second believe their is any sincerity in his claims to care about the “forgotten people” of America.

          He carefully figured out what kind of xenophobic, hateful message would resonate with his various audiences, and tailored it just so. He’s not stupid, and neither are the people working with him. These people are sharp, and they are ruthless. I don’t know how he pulled this off, but it shows a level of political sophistication that has shocked me, along with everyone else.

          Sadly, while I support the airport protesters completely, in their sentiment and intentions, I think they are playing right into Trump’s hands.

          The executive order about immigration was a transparent piece of propaganda. It served multiple purposes:

          – It riled up a bunch of liberal people to the point they went out and protested at the airport, which makes it easy to ridicule them, as protesting is just not cool.

          – It proved that he was willing to take action that deliberately hurt innocent people, while serving no legitimate security purpose. This signals the ruthlessness of this administration.

          – It served as a pretext to purge people from the State department who might interfere with Trump/Bannon’s plans. It’s a classic, you’re either with us, or you’re against us. This is one of the main tools that a sociopathic leader can use to induce sociopathic behavior at an institutional level.

          – It distracted from the moves to increase his political control over the NSC.

          – It provides a superficial action that can be used to demonstrate to his clueless supporters that he is “taking action,” for their benefit. Fulfilling his “campaign promises.”

          – It cleverly picks out seven countries that had been singled out by previous administrations as being dangerous (in various ways.) This retroactively provides cover for this nasty piece of propaganda, and confuses anyone trying to make a substantive argument against it.

          – it generally just confuses any rational person who tries to understand it.

          I was dumbfounded to read this article today in Slate, arguing that this new regime is “screwing up!”

          As far as I can see, they are executing perfectly to set up a reactionary, kleptocratic regime, with Trump in total control of the executive branch.

          With no meaningful internal constraints on the executive, the judicial and legislative branches will have very little power to impede Trump’s agenda, as they will have no enforcement mechanism.

          What do you (anti Obama commenters on NC) think a small coterie of progressive lefties, with contrarian views of the Dems, is going to be able to accomplish in fighting the power structure you so loath? You have no leverage, no power, only a disparate network of bloggers who address a very small echo chamber. And I do think Yves is impressive with what she has accomplished here. Very. But she is but one of a very small number: financially literate activists, with a progressive intent.

          To take on both parties, the know nothing Huffington Post readers, the deluded workers running the government in DC, the corporate leadership of the US, the financial-military-political-complex who keep the war machine running, the “Guns God and Gays” crew, the wanna be neo-nazi Breitbart douche bags, the everyday citizens who get their news from Facebook, and um…pretty much everyone… except doctrinaire lefties who can articulate the reason for all these problems, but have no constituency? Who number in the sub-one percent of the US population? This is going to accomplish what?

          I don’t think I’m deluded, and I intend to continue to support democratic candidates, at all levels of government. I have never bought the argument that there is no difference between the Dems and Repubs. The few progressive senators in congress are looking pretty vulnerable. Like my senator Tammy Baldwin, who while is not a power player, is a very sincere politician. She tries to help the people of WI, not just the corporate interests, like the rest of the Republicans who have taken over the State government. It doesn’t take much bad mouthing from interested parties to tip the balance in a close election.

          The US political system, for reasons that are beyond my grasp of political science, winds up aggregating disparate interest groups into coalitions that oppose each other. Inevitably, these frankenstein-monster-parties lumber along, struggling to govern in a coherent manner. It’s ugly, but it’s been this way since the “olden days.”

          I don’t get supposedly progressive folks who are willing to give political cover to this singularly awful president, just to prove a point that Obama was a very flawed president. As they all have been.

          The average person in the US has no idea what “neo-liberal” even means. Frankly, I don’t either, and I am vastly better informed on politics and economics than an average US citizen.

          I don’t claim to have any magic insight or answers to the very troubling war machine that grinds along, decade after decade, killing innocent people for dubious “foreign policy objectives.” It’s horrible.

          But to ridicule citizens who are attempting to mount a modicum of dissent because they failed to do so in the last administration is just straight up nihilism.

          1. pretzelattack

            i think most of the ridicule is for the leaders, who carried out bush policies they were suppose to fight, but i don’t see how pointing out the hypocrisy of their followers is nihilism. to me trump so far espouses standard republican/consevative policies, but more aggressively than the standard washington dc elites allow-he may actually take the policies more seriously than the republican establishment.

            other than identity politics, it’s become increasingly hard for me to tell the difference between republicans and democrats. they both support the war machine, they both invade countries, neither effectively addresses climate change because donors (the republicans will be worse on this, but not as nearly as much as the democrats would have you believe). we need a change, and people like clinton and obama will not provide it. we don’t have the luxury of making increasingly fine distinctions between lesser evils.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I fail to see how someone who doesn’t recognize the awfulness of Trump will have the shades fall from their eyes, just by harping on the flaws of the previous administration.

            Anybody who (a) doesn’t want to think for themselves, (b) wants the Democrat nomenklatura to think for them, (c) doesn’t want to understand why neither party has been able to deliver “nice things,” (d) wants another Third Way Democrat in 2002 (Booker), and (e) doesn’t want to think about what they’re for (e.g., Medicare for All) as opposed to what they’re against, should certainly follow your well-meant advice.

            Oh, and it’s not Trump that’s the problem. It’s that Trump is an oligarch (as is much of his cabinet). Of course, though Sanders can say that, Democrat loyalists can’t, because they have their own oligarchs to service.

            1. b1daly

              The point is, it’s one thing to point out the flaws of Obama.

              It’s another to undermine attempts by well meaning citizens to protest against things they oppose.

              If we are going to insist on a rigid doctrine that we will only accept as valid members of an anti-Trump coalition, it’s going to be a very small coalition.

      5. Dave

        The rear view mirror dictates where you have been and what lies in front of you.
        The future is unknown, the past is prologue.

        Also the disaster of the Obama Debt Depression is looming, it should be no surprise seeing where you are coming from.

  3. Anne

    Suspect in Quebec Mosque Attack Quickly Depicted as a Moroccan Muslim. He’s a White Nationalist.

    White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer exploited the attack to justify President Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. “It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the President is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security,” Spicer said at this afternoon’s briefing when speaking of the Quebec City attack.

    But these assertions are utterly false. The suspect is neither Moroccan nor Muslim. The Moroccan individual, Mohamed Belkhadir, was actually one of the worshippers at the mosque and called 911 to summon the police, and played no role whatsoever in the shooting.

    The actual shooting suspect is 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, a white French Canadian who is, by all appearances, a rabid anti-immigrant nationalist. A leader of a local immigration rights groups, François Deschamps, told a local paper he recognized his photo as an anti-immigrant far-right “troll” who has been hostile to the group online.

    Okay, so I totally get why there was a rush to pin this on a Muslim – I mean, it’s ever so convenient as a “reason” why governments can justify the imposition of new security measures – but what I don’t understand is why no one seemed to question why a Muslim would be attacking a mosque.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s interesting that initial reports (true or fake) were he was, or he was not this or that.

      And anyone reading could not be certain which was he.

      That’s world we live in, with or without people or officials assuming this or that report.

      If Spicer rushed, how do we know tomorrow the Canadians wouldn’t come out with a different version?

      And we’d be rushing today.

      1. Tigerlily

        As press secretary Spicer should know that initial reports of breaking news often contain contradictory, incomplete, or outright erroneous information and therefore should not be relied upon when making public pronouncements until they have been confirmed. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that he ignored this common sense precaution because the initial reports were congenial to a particular narrative he was trying to push, which makes him a poor press secretary and an unscrupulous person.

        He is not worthy of your excuses.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Recall the Christmas incident in Germany last December, the police had the wrong suspect for a while .

          It’s no an excuse to say ‘let’s not rush it today.’

    2. nechaev

      what I don’t understand is why no one seemed to question why a Muslim would be attacking a mosque.

      can’t be bothered to google the statistics, but i’d wager that most of the world’s jihadi terror attacks from 2001 up to the present have involved wahabi/ salafist attacks on shia mosque [or sunni sufi shrine] worshippers [albeit seldom if ever in non-Muslim-majority countries]

      1. Andrew Watts

        Yup, sectarianism is a huge issue with people from the Middle East. It makes the original claim believable.

        1. clinical wasteman

          As in the Balkans, Ireland and countless other places, the religious sectarianism is unquestionably real and at the same time is made even harder to understand by its cynical use as go-to explanation by media stenographers anxious to attribute horrible acts to ‘immemorial hatreds’ (a redundant plural is always a sign of bad faith) instead of taking the trouble to address a complicated, specific-but-unclear political-social-historical conjunction.
          No reason to assume that the mass fratricide among Muslims in Iraq and Syria couldn’t recur in ‘western’ cities, but it’s worth noting that — at least in lethal form — it has mostly been confined in the last couple of decades to places that were already political war zones thanks to outside ‘help’. (Intra-Islamic persecution exists in Africa and South-East Asia too, but Shia communities are relatively tiny, and the dynamics are way too complicated to attribute wholly to sectarian binarism.) Christians of various kinds are still the unchallenged European vanguard of that sort of bloodshed. The obvious partial exceptions happened in ex-Yugoslavia, where the ‘outside help’ also came from competing Gulf and Subcontinental Salafis, but even then, between the ‘Christian’ neo-statelets and the secular-Muslim nationalist outfits running Bosnia and Kosovo, the warzone was a readymade.
          Also: no, no-one really knows anything yet, but outside Iraq and Iraqi militia incursions into Syria, Shia sectarian violence specifically directed against Sunni religious sites has been relatively rare worldwide and unknown (please correct this if mistaken) in the ‘Global North’. And one of the few things we do know is that the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec is a Sunni institution. In keeping with many other ‘western’ cities, Québec has several of those, along with zero Shia ones and one Sufi centre. Not that that proves anything, other than that if this had been an anti-Sunni sectarian attack, it would have meant one of the world’s ugliest (and least “immemorial”) phenomena was spreading in an unprecedented way.

          1. Andrew Watts

            No reason to assume that the mass fratricide among Muslims in Iraq and Syria couldn’t recur in ‘western’ cities, but it’s worth noting that — at least in lethal form — it has mostly been confined in the last couple of decades to places that were already political war zones thanks to outside ‘help’.

            That’s exactly what I was assuming when I found the story to be plausible. What happens in the imperial periphery will likely find it’s way home eventually.

            During the Battle of Kobani there was street clashes between Kurdish supporters and Turkish/Arabic supporters of Islamic State in a German city whose name I can’t recall.

    3. Massinissa

      “why a Muslim would be attacking a mosque.”

      Uh, there were several major terror attacks on mosques in the Muslim world, like in Turkey, in 2016. You just were not paying attention.

    4. DH

      Sean Spicer is rapidly turning into the least credible news source in DC (and he is taking the lead against very strong competition).

  4. no one

    Wall Street did not get its TPP or the other Obama era secretly engineered agreements, but with the Republican sweep of Congress the Street won anyway. The Trump order on regulations, like his other orders so far, appears to aimed at tying up our regulatory agencies in litigation for the next decade as much as repealing existing regulations. This is part of Wall Street’s decades long quest to kill the New Deal.

    The real action is taking place in the Congress this very minute, where the House is eagerly carrying out the provisions of the Congressional Review Act. The CRA allows House leaders to over-ride regulations — health and safety, clean air, clean water, workplace safety, endangered species protection, public land preservation, Obamacare, to name a few — and replace them with Congressional substitutes, signed into law by the President.

    Several terrifying aspects of the CRA: it fast-tracks the substitute regulation, so no hearings, no amendments are allowed. All the public input and agency expertise is tossed aside. The CRA also prevents the agency from ever regulating in that area again.

    In other words, the lobbyist-drafted bills are whisked through Congress and signed by the President without a single opportunity for consideration of alternatives or opportunities for public input. The democratic process is completely scrapped.

    Naturally, the self-styled patriots in Congress have already started to draw up their wish lists in anticipation of avalanches of campaign contributions from billionaires.

    Enjoy breathing while you can!

    1. DH

      Wall Street is going to have to undermine the Tea Party in Congress and get those members replaced with more malleable people. The inevitable crash from them being allowed to roam free will require another bailout and those Tea Party folks won’t be happy about that. Free markets and deregulation are supposed to have a government backstop to allow the wealthy to remain wealthy even if they immolate the economy and financial system.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The real action is taking place in the Congress this very minute, where the House is eagerly carrying out the provisions of the Congressional Review Act.

      > terrifying

      No actual link + “terrifying” comes perilously close to gaslighting. Evidence, please. This isn’t a board, or Facebook. Please add value with actual sourcing, not mere assertion. There’s quite enough of that going around already.

  5. Marco

    As much as I despised Reagan-in-Black-Face the longer we trek into the Trump presidency the harder it’s going to be to say “…but Obama was just as bad”. Do people even care about George W anymore? Remember that picture of Michelle Obama lovingly hugging him? The kids don’t have a clue. My 19yo nephew who is incredibly naive about politics is totally on the Trump is Evil bandwagon. How does the real Left capture those minds?

    1. Jason Ipswitch

      Because Trump is legitimately quite awful indeed? In ways that are obvious to anyone with a smidgen of functioning brain, regardless of whether the media report on them or not?

      From his (reportedly) vast personal holdings (and equally vast debt) leading to a great deal of conflict of interest, to his reprehensible personal conduct and incoherent use of language as he provides a public showcase for personality disorders, to his gleeful championing of ignorance, theocratic flag waving, and eager amplification of some of Obama’s worst foreign policy decisions all make it easy for the team willing to say the Emperor has a wardrobe proble to gain more credit than the team blindly championing the impeccable qualities of the new Fuher’s attire.

    2. A

      I think the left pushing for and now excusing Trump because “but Obama” will backfire on the left, and only make establishment Democrats stronger. Personally, if Clinton had won, I would be here supporting all the criticisms from the left and maybe getting involved in some way. Now, I come here just to check if there’s finally any genuine non-sneering outrage over what Trump is doing, and there never is, the most egregious actions continue to be viewed through Obama filter.
      Looks like the resistance is now with the ‘liberals’, not the ‘left’. Thank god those people protested at their airports. If not for them, Trump would’ve been able to get away with that horror. I’d want someone to march for me.

      1. feox

        “Now, I come here just to check if there’s finally any genuine non-sneering outrage over what Trump is doing, and there never is, the most egregious actions continue to be viewed through Obama filter.”

        I come here for the same reason now. I’ve been following almost religiously NC for years now and it used to be a great progressive blog. I will continue to read the daily links compilation because it’s truly good work. But now, the cynicism has taken over the place and it’s sad. Identity politics has been so criticized (for very good reasons when it comes to the lack of economic progressiveness) that brown people, refugees, and Muslims are mocked and trying to protect minorities is viewed as a form of liberal treason to the progressive class struggle. It’s all starting to seem fringe and violent. The enemy is not Trump “brown people ban”, it’s the liberal protesters who worry about their fellow human beings.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          … “brown people, refugees, and Muslims are mocked…”

          Provide examples. Better yet, write specific comments in response to people you see doing this, if any.

          Comments that significantly distort the views of other commenters violate site Policies and will not necessarily be published.

      2. hreik

        Now, I come here just to check if there’s finally any genuine non-sneering outrage over what Trump is doing, and there never is, the most egregious actions continue to be viewed through Obama filter.

        yes, this. It’s all Obama’s fault. SMH.
        Today I’d do anything to have him again as Potus rather than what we have now, President Bannon.

            1. todde

              and where does Clinton and her crew fall on your “Not all” players.

              Clinton has to go, and she and her crew have to stay gone.

              1. hreik

                Most have to go. Clintons first and all the sh*t they brought w them. I’d keep: Bernie, Wyden, Warren, Merkeley, Murphy (CT), Gillebrand,

                  1. aab

                    No, he’s useless now. That became clear this year, not just his cowardly refusal to endorse Bernie, but a lot of his private shenanigans on Clinton’s behalf at private fundraisers, including with Goldman, IIRC. I can go hunt for links to that late tonight, if you need me to.

                    I’m not a fan of Murphy, either, but he at least is wearing less of a lion skin. I would never back Warren and Gillibrand for national office, but both would probably be useful in the Senate under a leftist President. I have to think about Wyden.

                    But then, I disagree with you about Obama. Nothing was ever going to get better with him in power, no matter how painful the next few years will be.

        1. b1daly

          Jesus, I just wrote a long rant, as a comment, which probably won’t get posted here on this very subject.

          I hope it does, as I worked on it long time. But in anycase, my complaint was about all this anti-Obama sentiment being used to overlook the disaster unfolding in front of my eyes. Now all of a sudden there is this thread, which I am heartened to see. I’m not prone to hysterics, or believing everything I read on my favorite website, but I am truly alarmed by what’s happening.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > all this anti-Obama sentiment being used to overlook the disaster unfolding in front of my eyes.

            Don’t you feel that “sentiment” is just a little bit loaded?

            I fail to see pointing out the historical continuities between what Obama has enabled and what Trump is doing “overlooks” anything.

            To deploy the old saw: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Which is exactly what the Democrat leadership seems determined to do. All the way down the drain.

            1. b1daly

              Part of my alarm is that I think Trump is different in kind than other Presidents of my living memory. Even Reagan, who I loathed, had a heart.

              Maybe I’m over reacting, but no, I do not see Trump as a continuation of the legacy of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama.

              I think he really does not care about anything other than his own power, wealth, and glory.

              Such a skilled sociopathic leader can trample over legal structures that might constrain them, once they have a firm grip on executive power. Basically, he is in direct control of the most lethal military force in history, and most comprehensive spying infrastructure in history.

              What will be telling is how he handles dissent within his domain, and whether he will accept that he is still subject to the laws of the land.

      3. jhallc

        “I think the left pushing for and now excusing Trump because “but Obama” will backfire on the left”

        I don’t think anyone on the left is excusing Trump, but just trying to put his actions into some context so that we understand how we got here. Also, many of those protesting that last few weeks were Bernie Sander’s supporters. Ian Welsh’s article linked to today say’s it all for me. Just because the likes of Chuck Schumer and Corey Booker jumped to the head of the parade doesn’t mean they have changed their ways. I’m guessing the “left” just doesn’t want to be used again and then kicked to the curb by the Neoliberals. If the left is going to join with the “liberal” side of the party then we need to do it with our eyes open and maybe open a few eyes of others along the way.

      4. j84ustin

        Agreed. The silver linings that seem to exist with Trump’s election vanish by the day. This is not to dismiss, excuse or forget the terrible things Obama did/expanded on during his presidency. But the wholesale rejection of “liberal” “resistance” (terms that have been rendered meaningless, I know) by many here is depressing.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Some of us have been depressed by unending Neoliberal rulers for going on 40 years now.

          “Welcome to the party, pal.”
          Bruce Willis as John McClane in Die Hard

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > wholesale rejection of “liberal” “resistance” (terms that have been rendered meaningless, I know)

          I think you’re confusing “wholesale rejection” with deep skepticism, more than justified by the Democrat ability to astroturf and exploit and decapitate movements (for example, Black Lives Matter). I mean, when you see arch-Clintonite Neera Tanden with her “resistance” sticker, you gotta wonder, right?

          I found the trip reports from Trump rallies, all across the spectrum, an incredibly useful corrective to the press coverage. I haven’t seen similar reports on the rallies, but we’re pretty stretched right now, and maybe I missed them.

      5. Patricia

        So look, we need to fight three groups: Trump, the Republicans and the Dems. Trump is the shiny newbie; the other two have been around for a long time. Of the latter, many of have been blind to Dem collusion. Moreover, the Dems have recently treated us like absolute sh*t. It’s going to take a bit to come to terms with them.

        The Dem problem is made stickier because, while we need to develop a sturdy clean movement tout de suite, we also need the position provided by a main party since that’s how our system is currently set up and we are under some urgency. If we have to do some work within the party, and have to work alongside some of the Dems, it’s paramount that we understand their weaknesses, and that we try to shore them up as much as possible. We need to be quick on our feet while maintaining our balance, not just now but for a long time to come. Ian Welsh’s post is important regarding this.

        So, IMO, it is true that we need to be working against Trump, but it’s early days there, and the Dems are focusing entirely on him, so we have a little window here. We can use that window to establish who are our genuine allies, who we will merely use as allies for limited times, and how we are going to proceed.

        What kind of ally will you be, A?

        1. Marco

          Thanks Patricia…great insight. It’s just hard to trust Team D with Booker, Schumer and Paine out in front.

          1. Patricia

            It’s vital that we not trust them at all and do our best to get rid of them. People like A can not be trusted either, by all appearances in this combox. Whether we can work with people like him/her, on limited bases, is TBD. I find some of the conservative independents more likely, really. But we do have to figure that out.

            1. oh

              I agree with you. Most dyed in the wool Dims attack anyone who criticizes their idols (in this case Obama), want to label us as Trump supporters. The current protests and marches are orchestrated by the Dims and do not support the purported cause. The Dim party is controlled by power brokers like Schumer, Pelosi and the Clintons care only about themselves. Unless there’s cohesive independent effort to fight injustice there’s no hope. Even then it’s an uphill fight. Let’s not forget that Obama broke up Occupy and none of these dims (liberals) said a word. BLM is still trying to fight injustices to blacks with little support from these Dimocrat lovers. Trump will loot this country for his sole gain and won’t share the spoils. That’s what the Dims, McCain and others who oppose him are worried about.

            2. A

              Patricia, I appreciated your earlier comments about how we’re all angry. But suspicious how, by expressing fairly mainstream views that Trump is an abomination, not buying into “Bernie would’ve definitely won”, not buying into “Russia was definitely not involved”? I know all the criticisms of Obama/Hillary: wars, drones, attacks on whistle blowers, attacks on OWS, TPP, etc. (thanks to this blog).
              But where is the “Trump conflicts of interests tar baby” section on Naked Capitalism?

              1. Patricia

                Reasons for suspicion:

                You appear to need us here to immediately fall in with mainstream views. Why? I gave my ideas re NC combox’s current positions at 11:49am, but you don’t engage.

                Also, even tho’ we don’t instantly voice tribal opinion, many of us are already acting against Trump’s early proposals/actions. You equate words/actions and make a sour assumption. Why?

                Further, you call another human an abomination (etc) rather than maintaining basic respect and working against proposals/actions. Your (and mainstream lib view’s) insults are similar to those by Clintonites’ towards Berners. Shaming is used by people who believe themselves intrinsically superior. And here it is being delivered by a ‘democratic’ and ‘liberal’ bunch who say they value those unlike themselves. Bah

                For myself, I expect Trump to do most things wrong, so I feel no particular shock. Why are you and mainstream dems shocked? Where’ve you been over the past decades?

                My suspicions are resolvable by you, not me.

                1. A

                  I am shocked by the reaction here, not the actions. Calling the Muslim ban where legal residents are handcuffed and deported “swift decisive action” is just one of many examples.
                  Not calling out the corruption and kleptocracy with the sharp focus and detail it deserves, the way it was done when it came to Clinton Foundation or private server emails. Why is there not daily outrage that he is concealing his tax returns and running a business empire while being president? Can you imagine the reaction if Hillary did this?

        2. b1daly

          IMO, the fight at this point should be entirely against Trump. Anyone who is willing to oppose him, on any level, should be welcomed. Dems, Repubs, Libertarians, Commies, Anarchists.

          The reason being, I fear Trump is in a different category than any other president we have had. I think he is a sociopath, who will give no quarter to anyone who opposes him. He can’t be worked with. He simply has to be removed.

          Then anyone interested in fighting “the System,” can pick up where they left off.

          This is based on observation, and a queasy feeling in my gut about what is happening. I hope I’m wrong.

            1. b1daly

              I know your just joking, but I am starting to feel this way. My fear is that Trump is going to crush all opposition, because he is an evil man, and normal people have a very hard time dealing with such people.

              If what I fear is true, only a single minded focus to get rid of Trump, completely, is going to work.

              The man is an evil genius at insults, because he sees people’s weaknesses so clearly. Instead of allowing for his opponents to have their flaws, and retain a modicum of dignity, he has no computation about using humiliation as a tactic.

              This is very in keeping with how a sociopath operates. They get human nature, and stay two steps ahead of everyone else.

              His insult at Schumer about his “fake tears” was devastating, IMO.

              It will be trivial for him to use such tactics against a coalition that is full of the intra-party conflict found in the broad based coalitions needed to amass political power in the US.

              This is just a what I’m seeing. For a long time I thought Trump was just an idiot, because he would say such ridiculous things. I no longer think this.

      6. Massinissa

        Look, I’m sorry, but the Dems suck, the Republicans suck, and Trump sucks. Which one is worse is irrelevant, so stop trying to claim “OMG TRUMP IS 10x WORSE THAN OBAMA”. Its completely besides the point. We need to oppose the entire political establishment.

        1. jrs

          besides it’s not decipherable which is worse really. Trump will have horrors in store, just his anti-environmental policy alone makes sure of that (and someone who stays focused exclusively on the environment would at least have A FOCUS and thus would keep from going completely insane with information overload).

          But it’s easy to get lost in all the players and all the motives. The official (not leftist) opposition to Trump is neoliberal, they are evil too. Moral trade agreements would have labor protections and environmental protections written right into them. That’s not what we get with neoliberals. Which are what the Dems are. And meanwhile liberals horrified by Trump flock to “good guys” like the ACLU, I have no real problem with the ACLU, but they are now getting in bed with silicon valley economically. Is it about human rights or cheap tech labor, although these are distinct issues, at a certain point, when the money flows in and out, the lines seem to blur. Which side are you on? Who knows.

          And that’s what happens when you watch the players, because all the power players have their own agenda. What do we need? Growing environmental sustainability, increased worker empowerment, an increased minimum wage with affordable necessities etc.. At least that cuts through the garbage.

      7. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the left pushing for and now excusing Trump

        Link, please.

        > Looks like the resistance is now with the ‘liberals’, not the ‘left’

        I think if the (so-called) resistance was organized by liberals,* we’d be seeing a ton of pink pussy hats. No such luck. So in my reading this looks pretty spontaneous, rather like the protests against Trump in Chicago (though I’d sure like to know more about that Democrat War Room and funding generally). The trouble with movementism is that without a program, the movement is easy to capture. If the airport protests culminate in Booker 2020, I think that’s a net negative. And wake me when liberals start to focus on tens of thousands of excess deaths in the Rust Belt. Maybe then they’ll have some sort of moral standing.

        * Probably a good thing it’s not — so far as I know. Anything organized by Clintonites like Neera Tanden is bound to be a debacle, as their track record shows.

        1. b1daly

          While the comment you are responding to has an aspect of hyperbole, I think it is indeed the case that by constantly attacking Clinton, and leaving the relatively unknown quantity of Trump out of the firing line, “left wing progressives” were among the forces that led to her loss. This article typifies this line of reasoning. (Which I find nauseating, sorry…)

          1. aab

            I wanted her to lose. Many on the left did.

            Having said that, we probably had very little to do with her loss. The people who flipped and the people who stayed home in despair aren’t on Twitter, Reddit and Naked Capitalism. I think it’s probably more useful to think of the left as canaries in the coal mine. We warned the neoliberals what was likely to happen. They just didn’t listen.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            It’s the job of a political candidate — in this case, Clinton — to win votes. Clinton didn’t win the votes where it mattered, so she lost. It really is that simple, and the “Blame the voters” trope that Democrats constantly deploy is just another way of evading accountability. (“We own your votes! Now get in line!”)

            Maybe it was really a bad idea for Clinton to throw what’s left of the base under the bus to appeal to suburban Republicans.

      8. Praedor

        No. Pointing out that Obama was evil too and started some of the evil that Trump is currently picking up and running full tilt with isn’t passing the buck back. It is simply pointing out that BOTH PARTIES ARE CORRUPT and that the Democrap Party IN PARTICULAR must be completely changed so that we do not get another Obama (or Hillary) as the front man again. You must look full upon the truth and accept the awful that is both sides in order to at least try and not repeat it again next time.

        But I daresay you may fall into the trap. If a Hillary clone is offered up again next time by the Dems, you are likely to go for them in a big way simply because Trump is so awful, willfully ignoring that the Dem establishment picks are also VERY awful.

        1. RMO

          I think it’s more a case of trying to make it clear to everyone that now the U.S. has jumped into the fire that working hard to jump back into the frying pan isn’t a particularly good plan.

        2. b1daly

          But how do you propose to do this? The ideological stance you are advocating has very minimal cultural support. Bernie lost to Clinton, who was one of the least liked Democratic candidates ever. When it comes to the few enfeebled independent parties we have, the Libertarians garner more support, by far, than the Greens.

          Trump is the first President ever elected who bucked the establishment in any way, and he is reactionary, right winger. This sentiment runs deep in America, and he exploited the frustrations of disenfranchised populations through simplistic, and false, narratives of national decline due to the influence of immigrants, politicians, and “the elite.”

          If someone has a propaganda formulation that can link the relatively large population of disenfranchised Trump voters to relatively small population of disenfranchised Bernie supporters, I would love to hear it.

          Most voters do not vote based on rational positions. They are influenced by propaganda one the one hand, and tribal affiliation on the other. The “Guns God and Gays” folks seem rather far from the environmentally conscious , socialized medicine supporting, anti-corporation, pro-single payer health care, pro choice, pro welfare, tax raising faction of the Bernie supporters.

          Anecdotally speaking, I live in Madison WI, in a central neighborhood that was very pro Bernie (my neighbor still has his sign up.) Very generally speaking, we are a friendly folk, but we like our food coops, our free trade coffee, our priuses, our commuting to work on the bike path to our government job. We are pro union, including for public workers, pro choice, pro public school. The folks around here do not worry about What Jesus Would Do. We support our local pagans, even if we aren’t religious. We were sure, positive, no brainer level, that Scott Walker was going to be thrown out on his ass in the recall.

          We have had some rude awaking to realize that not only do the Trump supporting voters in the non-urban areas of WI not agree with us, they just don’t like us.

          At the time of the Walker recall, I did not share my neighbors’ confidence in his defeat, but I still hoped.

          I think we were all a bit shocked to be clued in to a social divide that we were simply not aware of.

          Again generalizing, I feel like no matter what a liberal-progressive-lefty might say, people inclined to vote for Trump will sniff out this cultural difference, and just dismiss the viewpoint.

          Trump benefitted to an extent from protest votes, but he cleverly knitted together a winning coalition from resentful rural people, Fox News watchers, the populist right, with just enough of the traditional Republican voters to squeak it out. The way he has taken over the Republican Party is astonishing, given the overt hostility of the party elite. Even that was unprecedented.

          Anyhow, anyone interested in learning more about some of the cultural issues underlying current political conflicts might find this book about what has happened in WI interesting.

          1. aab

            But how do you propose to do this? The ideological stance you are advocating has very minimal cultural support. Bernie lost to Clinton, who was one of the least liked Democratic candidates ever.

            You seem to be unaware of a great deal of data from the past year politically. Bernie always had more support than Clinton in the overall electorate than in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has gotten smaller and smaller since the Clintons and New Democrats took over. They’re less than a 1/3 of the electorate now. Those that stayed in are tribal loyalists, so the fact that Bernie did as well as he did going up against her with registered Democrats given the MASSIVE institutional support and outright deceit on her behalf in the media is quite significant. She had to suppress and flip votes to get the nomination. There’s plenty of evidence for that, too.

            Liberals are the minority. Liberals cannot win nationally. Robust majorities in the electorate (including in many cases majorities of Republicans) support democratic socialist policies like universal health care and enhanced Social Security.

            Since your thesis is so inaccurate, I did not read the rest of your comment. I hope this information is helpful to you.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              To repeat myself: Universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class.

              That’s how FDR did it. From the basest motives of pragmatic party calculation, it works. Instead, we get Clintonian incrementalism, and many explanations why we can’t have “nice things.” No wonder they lost.

      1. nowhere

        Yeah, it seems as if many have forgotten that Trump was still an evil candidate in the LOTE calculus.

        Last I checked he still has agency in what policies he pushes for and the tone set from the Executive branch. He could have said “The vast sweeping policies set by my predecessors have gone too far”. But he didn’t, and he should be condemned for not doing so (just as this site and its supporters rightly slammed Obama for largely continuing, if not expanding, on Bush’s overreach). Maybe people “out there” have forgotten, but I don’t think people on this site have fallen down the memory hole.

        It is possible to not blame Obama for Trump’s choices, while still recognizing the path we took to get here.

      2. Portia

        whatever doors were opened in the incremental Executive Branch power grab that started probably back in the Reagan admin and deeply intensified during the Dubya admin, Obama strengthened and expanded, and IMNSHO, the would-be “dictators” were watching and saw a potential golden chance to sweep in. All those POTUS’s did their part to get us where we are now, all are culpable and contributing factors, and we can not pine for any one of them, because the outcome would be the same.

      3. witters

        Absolutely disagree, pretzelattack.

        Objectively Obama had the chance of a lifetime to detoxify the most egregious evils of the US political regime, and subjectively he said he’d take that chance. He got voted in on this basis (“hope & Change!”) Then he truly fucked you all over, at the time when it really, really mattered.

        What he did was so awful that many refuse to see it, though there it is, all around you all the time.

        1. pretzelattack

          that’s why i said it was a low bar. clinton represented a heightened danger of a war with russia, and while obama was feckless and bad on climate change, trump will be still worse. those are the two greatest imminent threats i see. that said, obama was a terrible president, and i don’t want him back to save us from trump–the choice is nicely captured by RMO’s metaphor above “now the U.S. has jumped into the fire that working hard to jump back into the frying pan isn’t a particularly good plan.” . our only chance is to break the duopoly.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        I disagree jrs.

        Rubbing the Clinton, Obama elite’s noses in it is vital to getting at least a lesser degree of rigging in 2020 primaries

        See Sanders campaign, unexpected viability of in spite of corruption

    3. Kurt Sperry

      It’s not a “Trump is Evil bandwagon”, he really is quite evil and you can see it standing still even better. This is however trivialized to some degree by the fact that you will very rarely be offered the choice of anything other than some version of pretty appallingly overt evil. Trump has maybe embraced the black hat role in the drama in a way that presidents rarely do however.

  6. philnc

    On net neutrality and Ajit Pai. The anti-Pai rhetoric has reached peak screach. After reading a piece questioning the basis of claims his chairmanship of the FCC will wreck the Internet, I went back and read what he’s actually said publicly (linked on the commission web site). What I discovered was a serious advocate for expanded access, particularly in severely underserved rural America. Living in North Carolina it’s hard not to notice the huge gaps in broadband accessibility that have not been advanced significantly with the approach used by the previous administration. In particular the power of the incumbents to keep even big players like Google Fiber “off the poles” and dominate the wireless frequency spectrum are major obstacles to getting broadband to those who don’t have it, and contribute to the entrenchment of the monopolies now in charge (who in fact *should* have to be fighting a two-front war with the FCC and FTC). Will Pai make good on his own rhetoric? Will he be allowed to? Will his strategies even work? Who knows. One thing for sure though: this debate is yet another that could use a whole lot less heat and considerably more light.

    1. nowhere

      I think a lot of push back against him is his stance on Net Neutrality. Which, as Yves describes, is the attempt to turn the internet into TV.

      You also need to be careful on what he means by expanded broadband access, and his positions against municipalities owning there own networks.

  7. jefemt

    Re: Human forbearer had no anus.

    The description of ingesting and expelling out the same orifice made me think back to many college acquaintances and a mis-spent youth, such as I can recall….

    1. fresno dan

      January 31, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Made me think of politics: all the crap we’re forced fed and all the sh*t belched out the same hole….

    2. Praedor

      Made me think of our politicians in D.C. Assfaces each and every one. Made me realize that DE-evolution really is a thing and the people who are “elected” are as close to our anus-faced ancestor as is possible.

  8. Jeff

    “How Russia sold its oil jewel: without saying who bought it”
    Didn’t John Helmer assess it was the Russian central bank?
    From his site: “when the Swiss give Washington the Glencore contracts, as they are certain to do, the Americans will see this is a Russian bank financing for Rosneft and the state budget, not a foreign one”.

    1. A

      According to the twitteratti, the 19.5% figure is suspiciously close to the 19% the “dodgy dossier” said was promised to Cage et al.

        1. Skip Intro

          This was a claim made in a post linked here recently in the comments about ‘signs of a coup’ or something. It was pretty shoddy work, and the 19% innuendo was a tell. According to the Helmer piece, IIRC, the fact that Rosneft was openly looking to sell off about 19% was known to Steele and thrown in to his fabrications to add a few chunks of fact to the thin gruel. That this would now be construed as confirmation of the Steele dossier is just an example of echo chamber operation.

          1. A

            Maybe there should be an examination of why Russia is arresting people for treason and specifically for feeding data to the CIA, and whether that is an indication that somehow CIA has obtained actual factual information.

            1. Skip Intro

              I look forward to your research. I’m sure the CIA occasionally does come across factual information, I mean, even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut. The problem tends to be what happens with those facts on the way to the policy apparatus. In any case, I was referring to the Steele dossier, a freelance invention, not a CIA product. What are you referring to?

              1. A

                That is also what I’m referring to, a freelance invention by a former MI6 agent that the CIA deemed worthy of including in a briefing to the president.

  9. Carolinian

    Shorter David Frum: I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member. Not only is Orwell the voice of our time but also Groucho Marx.

    Meanwhile yesterday Trump committed a shocking bit of truth and tweeted that Lindsey Graham and John McCain wanted to start World War III. If Trump starts acting like a peacenik then The Resistance may collapse like a big bag of wind.

    1. fresno dan

      January 31, 2017 at 8:45 am

      “…a shocking bit of truth and tweeted that Lindsey Graham and John McCain wanted to start World War III.”

      It is impossible to take the MSM seriously when their default position is that those two are responsible, knowledgeable leaders. It is hard to imagine a pair that have more consistently harmed the interests of the vast majority of the people in America…..but than again, the MSM will never broach the subject that the interests of only the 1% are ever truly looked after…

        1. polecat

          Well fresno dan, promoting gilt-free wars with no personal skin in the game seem to bring out the Bromance out of some fossil CONgressii ….. especially, but not only, THOSE two !!

        2. Baby Gerald

          There must be a scientific term for creatures with only one orifice. I suggest we adopt it and make it part of the lingo.

  10. alex morfesis

    Antidote…don’t you come up and start kissing on me at 7 in the morning after you’ve been out all night and come home with all that cologne slapped on you…

    they are cute though…

    1. fresno dan

      alex morfesis
      January 31, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Huh…I thought the one had some bacon on her cheek and the other said, “let me get that for ya”

  11. fresno dan

    Hollywood as We Know It Is Already Over Vanity Fair

    So last night I viewed the commentary for the movie “Following” (I had first seen it in 1999 and rewatched it because I remember really liking it but had entirely forgotten the story, except “everybody has a box”). Apparently if not the first, one of the first movies Christopher Nolan wrote, filmed, and directed with a budget of….6,000$ dollars***. Filmed, with a wind up camera, without permits on London streets and rooftops (without permits) and in the flats of friends and relatives and one very interesting looking bar, it shows that creativity and a good story are more important than budget. And note the cinematography is virtuoso despite being low cost. This is a noir movie, so it is in black and white.

    My own view is that the distribution stranglehold for getting movies to the public is going to crack at some point. I have 72 movies “saved” at Netflix, mostly small, very obscure, and low budget (Soldiers of Paint; Ravenous) that simply have not been made available in DVD or by streaming – I have been waiting for many of these for years (Booz’s Booty Review). I don’t know if this is Netflix’s fault or not. It doesn’t seem like the owners of the films would objective to making these films available over the internet – its a small audience versus no audience. Of course, maybe some have an incentive not to have competition….

    Africa has a thriving film industry – except for a break out movie once a decade, one can’t get one’s hands on a Ghanaian made movie.
    So I don’t dislike Hollywood movies – I liked the FIRST Spiderman movie – but SIX have been made since 2002, and more are on the way – I think the genre has been fully explored at least for the next 30 years. How about more imaginative super heroes….. like hamsterman or wallabyman??? Wallabyman, wallabyman, does whatever a wallaby can….


    1. Carolinian

      They make all those action movies to appeal to the increasingly important international market. Hollywood is an “industry” and always has been.

      Try your local library, a good source for indies.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I read Spielberg told a film class a few years ago that movies as society knows it will be dead in a few years if the theaters don’t demand $7 movies and $12-14 blockbuster pricing. Would you pay whatever a movie ticket is these days to see “Back to the Future,” a movie that starred TV actors, was directed by a nobody, has a non sense plot, and no existing brand structure except a DeLorean. If you heard at the water cooler that this movie was actually good, you might go see it especially if ticket prices were near historical lows. But for current prices, would you really want to see that movie? “Back to the Future” might have been Spielberg’s example.

      Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 2 was awesome by the way.

      1. neo-realist

        But for current prices, would you really want to see that movie? “Back to the Future” might have been Spielberg’s example.

        Not Back to the Future, which may be a bit too cotton candy teenybopper for me personally, but a Blade Runner sequel, yes. Possibly the big budget WWII film from Nolan as well. Did so for Tarantino’s Hateful Eight Road Show in 70mm. Generally, visual feasts that come off way better on a big screen than a TV are worth the price.

    3. Massinissa

      Well, fans of Squirrel Girl have been trying to get Marvel to do a Squirrel Girl movie for awhile now, though it was revealed a couple months ago Marvel is going to put her in a live action TV show. Does that count?

    4. neo-realist

      Have you tried Fandor for some of the obscure films you haven’t found? A lot of good foreign, independent and offbeat fare in their streaming selection.

      1. fresno dan

        January 31, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        Thanks for that – I will have to look into it when I get moved and see what the internet connection possibilities are. The fact that the opening link showed the movie “Wendy and Lucy” is a very good sign.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Wake up and smell the fascism:

    [Attorney] Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, together with Andrew Pincus and Paul Hughes of Mayer Brown LLP, filed the suit on behalf of the Aziz brothers, who are 19 and 21 years old. The two were stopped at Dulles yesterday, entering the United States from Yemen, on lawful green cards to which they are entitled by their U.S. citizen father.

    Says Sandoval-Moshenberg, not only were they handcuffed while they were detained by CBP at Dulles, and not only were they turned away and sent to Ethiopia, but also they were also made to sign a form, known as the I-407. In doing so, they surrendered their green cards, under the threat of being barred from the U.S. for the next five years if they did not.

    Sandoval-Moshenberg tells me he couldn’t quite believe the two young men “were straight-up bullied into having their green cards taken away.” They were at no point given copies of any of the documents they had signed.

    This is what happens when you turn loose CBP agents — who already have considerable individual authority — to be as nasty as they wanna be.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Oh Noes fascism arrives in America, this is sooo bad for Muslims, they’ll have to live in some other country!
      (Soundtrack: the whine of a killer robot bomb terrorizing and killing Muslims in 7 nations where America has created millions of Muslim refugees and smashed their economies beyond repair. But hey that’s okey-dokey because a really smooth-talking brother said it was the cool thing to do!)

    2. clinical wasteman

      Ironclad respect for Beef, HAL and Pavel notwithstanding, I agree with you 100% this time, Jim. The guards didn’t abuse their power, the power itself is abusive and only has to be turned loose to wreak havoc. And regardless of whether you want borders to be open, closed, defended by moats or non-existent, anyone who has ever experienced ‘immigration issues’ will be able to confirm that this power has always, always been “case by case”. Without that monopoly on certainty, half the power would vanish.

      PS. Yes, dying of drone-bombing is worse than being turned away at an airport, and the relative size of the respective protests is grotesque. Ebola is also said to be worse than compound fractures. But if — as is apparently not clear yet — this is going to be visited retroactively on residents of many years’ standing whose only home in the world is in the US, personally I think I’d opt for drone assassination, at least if 1. I couldn’t see it coming, and 2. they could get “precision” right and be sure of obliterating me rather than my loved ones.
      PPS. Flippancy quotient in ‘PS’ above: zero. The question is hardly moot in the UK right now. And “thanks but no thanks” is a reasoned response to any offer of survival as a substitute for life.

  13. Pavel

    It’s been said here already many times and elsewhere… the liberals and Dems are really jumping the shark with these latest rounds of hysterical protests and outrage over the #MuslimBan executive order.

    Outcome of Trump’s action: cancelled flights, inconvenience, very real stress and fear — I grant you. For real refugees, it is no doubt a nightmare situation added to previous nightmare situations.

    Outcome of Obama’s actions: destruction of Libya, Syria. 26,000 bombs dropped in 2016 alone. Aiding and abetting genocide in Yemen. Creation of hundreds of thousands of the refugees the Libs and Dems are so concerned about.

    This is just Alice In Wonderland territory. Where were all the huge NYT headlines and DoJ resignations over Obama’s illegal wars?

    1. Pavel

      Postscript — a great post by Paul Craig Roberts along the same lines:

      One might think that Amnesty International should be fighting against the Bush/Cheney/Obama regime wars that have produced the refugees by killing and displacing millions of Muslims. For example, the ongoing war that Obama inflicted on Yemen results in the death of one Yemeni child every 10 minutes, according to UNICEF. Where is Amnesty International?

      Clearly America’s wars on Muslims wreck far more lives than Trump’s ban on immigrants. Why the focus on an immigration ban and not on wars that produce refugees? Is it because Obama is responsible for war and Trump for the ban? Is the liberal/progressive/left projecting Obama’s monstrous crimes onto Trump? Is it that we must hate Trump and not Obama?

      Immigration is not a right protected by the US Constitution. Where was Dimaggio when in the name of “the war on terror” the Bush/Obama regime destroyed the civil liberties guaranteed by the US Constitution? If Dimaggio is an American citizen, he should try immigrating to the UK, Germany, or France and see how far he gets.

      The easiest and surest way for the Trump administration to stop the refugee problem, not only for the US but also for Europe and the West in general, is to stop the wars against Muslim countries that his predecessors started. The enormous sums of money squandered on gratuitous wars could instead be given to the countries that the US and NATO have destroyed. The simplest way to end the refugee problem is to stop producing refugees. This should be the focus of Trump, Amnesty, and Dimaggio.

      Is everyone too busy hating to do anything sensible?

      [My emphasis]

      –The Left Is Self-Destructing — Paul Craig Roberts

      1. cocomaan

        Not to mention that all of DC cynically used terrorism to establish jobs programs like the TSA and otherwise strip liberties away.

        Islamic terrorism isn’t something to be fought, but to be defeated through political reforms in the middle east, and probably the rise of a caliphate that can put a damper on these radical religious interpretations. A Middle Eastern Union, if you want (of course, everyone made damn sure Nasser didn’t pull it off back in the day), religious or not.

        The same goes for Mexico. The federal government tried its hardest to turn Mexico into a failed state with the drug war. Not once did I hear Hillary say that the solution to illegal immigration is to help make Mexico a better country that people would want to live in.

        Trump is just the end product of a decade and a half of terrorism warmongering and a hundred years of drug prohibitions.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Not once did I hear Hillary say that the solution to illegal immigration is to help make Mexico a better country that people would want to live in.

          Mexico has developed a middle class, and net immigration from Mexico has stopped according to Pew Research.

          It’s the Central American states that the Reagan administration destabilized — Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras — whose citizens are migrating through Mexico at great personal risk to escape these violent hellholes.

          Per capita GDP in Guatemala and El Salvador is less than half of Mexico’s; in Honduras, less than a third.

          Mexico is actually a success story, in which several decades of patient development have created enough opportunity that Mexicans don’t feel the need to emigrate. Not so for Central America, which is not in Nafta and didn’t develop much.

          1. DH

            If Trump keeps going with his policies, Mexico will probably end up picking up potential illegal immigrants in buses at their south border and drop them off at tunnel entrances along the US border. Right now they are trying to police the southern border to reduce the flow (and to prevent them from staying in Mexico). Lack of cooperation can be a two-way street.

          2. Carolinian

            The NAFTA helped Mexico line was addressed yesterday in the Cooler. We have destroyed their agriculture and are using them as automotive sweatshop labor. Huge demonstrations are taking place as we speak because of PEMEX price increases at the beginning of the year. Then there’s all the drug lords and mass killings….

            A real success story.

            1. Isolato

              “The Singapore Grip”, by J.G. Farrell describes the process by which British imperialism moved subsistence farmers to wage labor on giant rubber plantations in Malaysia. Once you cannot grow your own food…you are forever a slave to another. Highly recommended as a novel along w/the wonderful ” The Siege of Krishnapur” about the Indian Mutiny. Sadly J. G. Farrell was washed away in a wave while fishing….

      2. fresno dan

        January 31, 2017 at 9:00 am

        Chuck Schumer ✔ @SenSchumer
        We must tighten loopholes in the Visa Waiver prgm, ensure passports can’t be faked & stop terrorists who want to exploit the system.
        10:26 AM – 19 Nov 2015

        We live in a world of hyperbole because, as the aphorism goes:
        “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.***”
        We create refugees by our indisputably failed mideast war mongering….but that is blithely ignored…

        We get this because the two parties in substance are indistinguishable – all branding and no actual core principals.

        *** fresnodan’s corollary: In any dispute the intensity of animosity is directly proportional to the amount of hypocrisy exposed

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A Goldilocks arrow is one that hits not too far to the right of the mark, and not too far to the left either.

  14. UserFriendly

    Donald Trump backs down on green card immigrants FT

    However, Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said in a joint statement that the executive order could become a “self-inflicted wound” in the fight against terrorism by sending a signal, intended or not, that America does not want Muslims coming into the country. “We fear this executive order may do more to help terrorist recruitment than improve our security.”

    Mr Trump hit back on Twitter by accusing the senators of being “sadly weak on immigration” and urging them to “focus their energies on Isis, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III”.

    I just about peed myself laughing.

    1. fresno dan

      January 31, 2017 at 9:02 am

      I was going to try and mock McCain and miniMcCain by a snarky remark about how red misting is how you win Muslim hearts and minds, but McCain and his ilk are simply incapable of understanding parody or that decades of disorder, war, and bombing people makes them not like you….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You closed the entire North American airspace for a few days, many years ago.

      Or you could have closed it for 3 months.

      In a situation like that, it all depends on how long you are in the dark.

      it says, “We don’t know what lurks out there.” It’s a defensive posture. And you admit – honestly – your weakness (lack of information), in an emergency.

      The countries on the list have been on it (most of them) through several administrations. If you want to admit you don’t know enough out there and you need 90 days, you do it.

      And if the situation comes up again when you are completely in the dark, you close the entire North American airspace…for even 90 days….whatever it takes.

  15. Michael Hudson

    I think there’s certainly a metaphor in the fossil that is blind — no eyes — and sends its shit out of its mouth.
    Can some of you think of an appropriate metaphor? What part of the economic system is this? I know the person you’ll think of — but this is too good a metaphor to waste.

    1. andyb

      The amazing evolution from that fossil to the typical politician of today indicates that God has a sense of humor.

      1. fresno dan

        January 31, 2017 at 9:43 am

        “The amazing evolution from that fossil to the typical politician of today…”

        It is said that people don’t understand that evolution has no direction, it is simply random and there is no “direction” to more advanced species.

        I disagree.
        We are definitely going backwards

        1. polecat

          To whom is this ‘We’ of which you speaketh, Sir dan ??

          This proto-fossil has evolved to not eat and spew shit from either main branches of the American political evolutionary tree !

  16. a different chris

    “Why Hollywood as we knew it..”

    Did you post that to show that Tom Friedman isn’t dead? Starting with gems like this version of the cab driver anecdote: “an employee from the production’s wardrobe department rushed over to berate him. “That is not your job,” she scolded. “That is my job.”” — if this even happened, how do we know she wasn’t just ribbing him, the whole, uh, scene, is about everybody being bored waiting for things to start happening. Sounds like she could well have been amusing herself — I don’t know, but I suspect these type of artistic endeavors are like sailing, hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. The author shows no sense of humor or humanity for the next zillion words so it could have gone right over his head.

    Then we get genius like this “More often than not, tech-related advances—including e-readers and free online blogging platforms, such as WordPress and Tumblr—were laughed at as drivel by the entire industry, just as Napster had been years earlier.” Yeah, look at Napster, who’s laughing now I ask?

    Finally, the “inefficient” Hollywood is replaced by people like Netflix (disclosure, I *love* Netflix’s stuff): “Netflix, which earned an astounding 54 Emmy nominations in 2016, is spending $6 billion a year on original content.” Yeah 6 billion is chump change compared to the 100 million somebody spent on a failed — wait a second, 6 billion is a lot more than 100 million isn’t it?

    I leave you with this, stomach-churning in every clause: “When I spoke to Mike Moritz, the iconic venture capitalist, backstage at the event,”. Lordy brown-nose much?

    Anyway yeah stuff is changing but we don’t need idiots to try to frame said changes for us.

    1. Pat

      It is beyond a Tom Friedman cab driver anecdote, it is not just made up bull feces, it is insulting and stupid bull.

      First: There is a distinct hierarchy in film and television production, unless that writer was a producer, his comments about delivery are not going to be made personally to the actor, and maybe not even then. That is the director’s job. Even in writer driven television, the writer would talk about it with the director and then the director would talk to the actor.
      Second: Television is on a deadline. Unless that ‘early’ take was disaster, there wouldn’t be time to amble over, it would be reset, start again, “ROLLING”. The only time to amble over is when there is a technical change, something where most or all of the people playing with their phones stand up and quickly work to change things so they can film the next shot the director wants.
      And that brings us to the biggie: If this was a new set up, continuity comes into play. It is NOT just brushing the actor off, it is only brushing off something that should not be in the coming shot and leaving anything established by the previous shot. Said knowledgable screenwriter may have just done something that means the wardrobe person now has to put back the rain drop.
      There is also another even ickier possibility if this story really was told to Mr. Bilton. Who reaches out and wipes something off someone else’s body, shoulders arms anything without asking? What if Mr. Bilton’s friend of a friend was interested in more than line readings and not taking no for an answer? Make up and Wardrobe people work closely with the actors they are responsible for preparing for camera and develop friendships. It would not be unheard of for someone to use ‘their job’ to get the oh so important screenwriter to back away from a performer/friend they were making uncomfortable.

      And you should automatically discount any article about the decline of the film industry that does not touch on the unaffordable price of a ticket demanded by studios. Or noting that after years of using Video and DVD sales to off set low box office, they actually have greater profits from streaming rights and sales despite lower prices because the DGA and AFTRA didn’t listen to the WGA when they were telling them it was the future and to hold strong on a similar residual structure to the physical copies. All the guilds get much less in residuals from the new formats. Meaning that studio profits are down at the box office but probably holding far steadier in the secondary markets than they are admitting. (Cooked books being the biggest art form in the film business.)
      And to add to the Netflix observations, they are stupidly spending huge money on some of their originals. The only logical reason is as a loss leader. This might work out in the case of “The Crown”. Not only can you see most or all of the money on screen it is a quality production that is getting notice and acclaim. It is more problematic in the case of “The Get Down” which while looking good and having some really good young talent, had to be split into two parts, well because it was not ready. Production shut downs, rewrites, reshoots, etc. And invoking a small resemblance to “Heaven’s Gate”.

  17. Anne

    Here is an article on the issue of constitutional crisis that frames it in the context of what came before:

    How President Trump is already imperiling constitutional government

    This road was paved by many bipartisan actions before him [Trump]. Snapping the neck of the rule of law is usually easiest when it’s done by scapegoating some small, unpopular minority, and both Democrats and Republicans have partaken of policy bigoted against Muslims and refugees. Only last year Democrats were using an Islamophobic no-fly list to grandstand on gun control, and in 2015 Hillary Clinton was arguing that refugees from violence in Central America should be deported en masse. President Obama deported 2.5 million people as of 2015. That’s more people than any other president, which hugely empowered the selfsame CBP in the process.

    The imperial, increasingly lawless executive branch has also been built up over many preceding presidents. George W. Bush conducted illegal surveillance and torture by getting his pet legal hacks to write up nonsensical opinions justifying whatever he wanted to do, then keeping the justification secret. Obama scaled back that system slightly here and there, but he did not remotely conduct the root-and-branch reform to put the presidency back on a constitutionally sound basis.

    Trump’s defiance of the courts is going much further than Bush or Obama, of course, but he’s demolishing norms that were already badly cracked because of them and their predecessors. It’s important to remember the bipartisan nature of this history, because contrary to Obama partisans, defanging the executive branch will mean going far past the pre-Trump status quo to demolish a system that Obama protected and expanded.

    I think it’s important to acknowledge how we got here, and that why we are here is just as much our failure, as citizens, to set partisanship aside in favor of holding all leaders accountable for their actions, but I also think that as long as it’s proceeding apace, we don’t have the luxury of being able to indulge in extended analysis and recrimination and one side taunting the other for each side’s partisan hypocrisy.

    That I am happy to see so many people in the streets now does not mean I don’t wish we had seen that kind of activism in the past, or that I don’t wonder how things would be different now if we had demanded accountability then. I think the job of fixing things is way harder now, but it still has to be fixed, and the sooner we apply ourselves to that, the better.

    1. Jim Haygood

      We don’t have the luxury of being able to indulge in extended analysis and recrimination and one side taunting the other for each side’s partisan hypocrisy.‘ — Anne

      Thank you. Both wings of the Depublicrat duopoly engage in partisan hypocrisy. It shouldn’t stop us from opposing the outrage du jour, even if its foundations were laid by the other party.

      America’s imperial decay is a completely bipartisan endeavor.

    2. fresno dan

      January 31, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Anne, of course I love your article and view. I’ve said it a zillion times – it is not Trump so much as the laws, the media profits, and the zeitgeist that perversely gives terrorists all the publicity and fear to advance their cause that has really engulfed the country for going on 2 decades. But the security state benefits some….
      Perversely, or maybe ironically, Trump may enable the reform of our police state much, much more than if Hillary had won.

      1. Anne

        I’m kind of coming around to the belief that one of the reasons people are finally getting off their butts and out into the streets, and making phone calls and such, is that Trump’s brand of authoritarianism is on such full and glorious display, his delivery so oppositional and confrontational and floridly untruthful, as opposed to Obama (and, I expect Clinton, to some extent had she been elected), who managed to cloak his just-as-onerous-and-repressive policies and actions in more gracious and socially polite ways. He just seemed like such a nice guy, and nice guys with wonderful families couldn’t possibly be implementing horrible policies, could they? Well, yes, apparently, they can, and possibly to greater effect because people are so lulled into delusional acceptance.

        Where Obama was quietly up to no good, Trump wants to brag about what he’s doing, and I think it’s waking people up, finally. Not to mention, he has hordes of supporters ready, willing and able to take matters into their own hands.

        1. fresno dan

          January 31, 2017 at 11:22 am

          I agree with you 99.9%
          I only disagree with this, and its really just kinda of a semantic point “…that Trump’s brand of authoritarianism is on such full and glorious display, his delivery so oppositional and confrontational and floridly UNTRUTHFUL,…”

          I think Trump is more truthful….in that his lies are so juvenile, so plain, so obviously divorced from reality, that they are actually less dangerous than the Obama/Clinton misdirection and obfuscation hidden in thousands upon thousands of policy documents.
          But Trump will state things plainly and truthfully, e.g., that he is for torture***.

          ***I have a comment in skynet that explains all the dissembling about torture…which is the effective way that the US implemented it, not by directly and clearly stating the US uses torture. I find this evasion about our actual torture policy, and rewriting history, much more despicable than Trump’s unsophisticated, and in my view easily defeatable, advocacy of torture.

          The problem isn’t that Bush/Obama were for torture – it was the myriad number of people who agreed, went along or did not oppose. But it is much more satisfying to have one person to lay the blame on. And we get to keep the illusion that as a people “we don’t do that”

        2. broadsteve

          As usual Anne, I appreciate your calm and clear-sighted perspective.

          To your follow up point could I suggest that another difference may be that Obama is the sort of individual that many non-partisan/not-particularly-political people think they would like to aspire to be, whereas very few would aspire to be manifestly crude, arrogant and narcissistic. It’s an ‘our better angels’ kind of argument.

          It is irrelevant whether those people are deluded or factually incorrect about Obama, as many on NC seem driven (to the point of diminishing returns) to point out. It’s about what they want to believe about themselves. (And in saying that I in no way mean to imply the dismissive and contemptible idea of ‘virtue signalling’).

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Where Obama was quietly up to no good, Trump wants to brag about what he’s doing

          Wonderfully clarifying!

          Of course, if the protests morph into Booker 2020, which I’m sure some of the usual suspects are mulling over right now, that’s not gonna be good…

        4. integer

          Where Obama was quietly up to no good, Trump wants to brag about what he’s doing, and I think it’s waking people up, finally.

          Imo the corporate media, acting in service of the establishment, is driving the narrative that is spurring people to protest. If Trump were to be replaced with a friend of the establishment, the corporate media would simply get back to work pacifying the people and the majority of the protesters would dissipate quickly after being told by said media (and perhaps a few Hollywood or MTV “stars”) that a few insignificant policy tweaks had made all the difference and everything is great again. The left needs to thoroughly purge the corporate and neocon friendly D-party establishment before any lasting change for the better could come from protesting Trump’s actions. As things currently stand, Trump is the best option.

          1. integer

            I should have added NGOs and organizations using similar tactics as Correct the Record to the corporate media. Taken together they create a thoroughly immersive establishment-friendly environment for those who let others do their thinking for them.

      2. Tom

        At long last, we have Trump — the wolf in wolf’s clothing.

        Embued with terrible Presidential powers accured over recent administrations, he preens and postures as he capriciously Tweets his lethal decrees and asks,

        How do you like me now?

          1. Tom

            Can’t take credit for it … I’ve seen it around. But it does capture what we’re seeing.
            As Charles Pierce is wont to say, “This is your democracy, people, cherish it.”

    3. The Cleaner

      Are the people on the street marching on principle or simply opposing the man? If it’s the latter — and sadly, all indications are that this is indeed the case — well, don’t you know you can count me out…

  18. cocomaan

    The article on ACA/opioid epidemic is strange. To save you the read, the argument is that by cutting ACA, all the myriad substance abuse treatment programs would be unavailable to millions. Yet isn’t ACA giving prescription coverage to those millions of people? Aren’t all of the prescription opiates granted by doctors? It’s not addressed in the article.

    Substance abuse treatment programs are great and all, but I suspect many don’t work effectively, or the numbers would be touted (check out NIDA’s page, scant on details).

    I knew someone arrested for selling weed. By pleading out, he was placed in a substance abuse treatment program where the group was screamed at by a counselor and had to admit that they were addicts or go to jail. If that’s the quality we’re getting out of the ACA, we might as well have people go to a confession booth instead, it’s probably just as effective.

    The opioid problem is handled as personal/psychological when it’s actually sociological/economic.

    1. Lynne

      No, not all the prescription opioids granted by doctors, or at least not granted to the person taking the drugs. Lots of drug theft going on out there. Not that it excuses the outrageously terrible “treatment” programs also out there.

      1. cocomaan

        Fair enough. I say that because the people I’ve known who have had a pill problem got a secondhand prescription source, or held the Rx themselves.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Had the same feelings you expressed in your first paragraph when I read the article. All those doctors whippin’ out their prescription pads so they can pretend to provide “healthcare” in profitable 15-minute increments can’t use the excuse that they don’t know opioids aren’t massively addictive any more. And yet……

      And it’s just another case of confusing insurance “coverage” with actual “healthcare.” According to this very sobering article, the alphabet soup of official “acts,” programs and laws notwithstanding, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is provided through the narrowest of narrow networks. Paying for treatment, for some patients, is less of a problem than finding it.

      But the U.S. drug treatment system — which is mostly a hodgepodge of abstinence-only and 12-step-based facilities that resemble either minimum-security prisons or tropical spas — has for the most part ignored the medical science and been slow to embrace medication-assisted treatment, as The Huffington Post reported in January. As a result, doctors are generally not involved in addiction treatment. In rural communities, doctors who are certified by the federal government to prescribe medications like buprenorphine are especially scarce: In Rapid City, a town of roughly 70,000 that still manages to be the second-largest city in South Dakota, there isn’t a single doctor who can prescribe buprenorphine for Fischer. There are fewer than 30 doctors in the entire state certified to prescribe it. Fort Collins was the closest place where Fischer and his family could find a certified doctor who was accepting new patients.


      Making sure that every opioid addict who wants medication-assisted treatment can receive it — the Obama administration’s goal — will require a major shift. As of December 2015, only 29,157 doctors were approved to prescribe buprenorphine. Just 18,600 are listed on the government’s publicly searchable Treatment Locator, and fewer than 10,000 can treat the legal limit of 100 patients each, according to a Huffington Post analysis of government data. Less than 4 percent of certified doctors practice in rural areas.


      “I get smeared with the same stigma that my patients get smeared with,” says Dr. Mary McMasters, who practices MAT in Augusta County, Virginia. “I was at a gathering of physicians. There were 18 physicians there. Three people came up to me afterwards and asked me if I was a psychologist. Then I was asked if I was a physician’s assistant, and I was asked if I was the wife of the guy sitting across the table from me. Another asked if addiction was a real area of medicine.”

      1. Aumua

        Just want to offer the counter perspective that although MAT may alleviate the obvious hell of dirty needles and street living, being dependent on buprenorphine (aka methadone 2.0) is it’s own special kind of hell, that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. For many it starts out ok, but it turns into a zombie like existence that is so much more difficult to kick than whatever short acting opiate they were originally on. That stuff clings to the receptors like nothing else.

        On the positive though, proving narcan and the training to use it to first responders saves lives on the front lines.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          I’ve no idea about the efficacy of MAT. But it’s what obamacare provides, and its loss, with obamacare repeal, is what the article bemoans.

          Personally, I don’t see why addicts, having been created by the pharmaceutical industry and “healthcare” establishment, cannot be maintained on prescription opioids until legitimate, effective treatment arrangements can be made.

        2. integer

          Fwiw I used to drive a friend to get his methadone dose everyday before he got too deep into the drug dealing scene and got killed by a (imo very suspicious) hit and run. He was miserable and I would wake him up when I arrived at his house after I’d finished work and he would be drinking a beer 10 minutes later and drink all night, every night. I was extremely lucky to be occupied with other things when one of my main groups of my friends – the friends I used to party with – got into heroin and the few I know who have made it out alive just went cold turkey. I can’t imagine how difficult that would have been, though I got a tiny taste of what it might be like when I was prescribed oxy after I had some surgery. I took it for a few days and made myself give the rest of the script to a family member to dispose of for me. Dangerous stuff!

    3. nippersmom

      the argument is that by cutting ACA, all the myriad substance abuse treatment programs would be unavailable to millions.
      The immediate fallacy I see in this argument is the assumption that “millions” actually have substance abuse coverage they can afford to use under the ACA.

      1. UserFriendly

        Many of the people who are on drugs to the point where rehab might be a good thing have long past the stage where paying for health insurance is an option. ACA did extend mental health parody and substance abuse to most plans but it’s not like we have universal coverage.

  19. tongorad

    Spare Us the Theatrics
    Trump’s Fortress America is rooted in the Obama years

    And as for those who are now gathering at airports with placards denouncing Trump – where were they when the countries on the no-go list were being bombed by their hero, Obama? The answer is that they were nowhere to be found. Oh, but now they’re up there on their high horses, lances lowered and ready to do battle with the “fascist” Trump. Spare us the theatrics, my liberal friends, and contemplate your own sins, for they are many.

    1. katiebird

      Thank you!! Harsh headline but a must read. Dare I share it on FB? More:

      First, as I wrote about in my last column, the initial draft of the executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation From Attacks From Foreign Nationals” contained a section raising the possibility of creating “safe zones” in Syria. The final version omits this dangerous plan. This is significant: what it means is that the Trump administration is going to resist calls by the interventionist media to “do something” about the Syrian civil war and is opting instead to keep its footprint in the region lighter than the War Party would prefer. “Safe zones” are off the table, at least for now.

      1. katiebird

        Of course, there is the Greenwald article (above) showing that things are still bad … no real surprise but sad:

        Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. Trump Just Killed His 8-Year-Old Sister. The Intercept

        In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.

        But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar <In a hideous symbol of the bipartisan continuity of U.S. barbarism, Nasser al-Awlaki just lost another one of his young grandchildren to U.S. violence. On Sunday, the Navy’s SEAL Team 6, using armed Reaper drones for cover, carried out a commando raid on what it said was a compound harboring officials of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A statement issued by President Trump lamented the death of an American service member and several others who were wounded, but made no mention of any civilian deaths. U.S. military officials initially denied any civilian deaths, and (therefore) the CNN report on the raid said nothing about any civilians being killed.

        But reports from Yemen quickly surfaced that 30 people were killed, including 10 women and children. Among the dead: the 8-year-old granddaughter of Nasser al-Awlaki, Nawar, who was also the daughter of Anwar Awlaki.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          That 8-year old was going to grow up and threaten America someday so had to be eliminated.
          (Get with the program, soldier, are you some kind of peacenik?)
          Dick Cheney decided the Magna Carta and centuries of civilized jurisprudence did not apply, no need for an accuser, judge, jury, or evidence. Team Obama made sure the policy was enshrined, embedded, and expanded from 2 countries to 7.
          So don’t be getting all squishy on us now, this is our nation’s policy, supported across the comprehensive swath of all Dems, Repubs, and various other lizards and toads. A handsome black community organizer even told us he was really good at it!

  20. Jim Haygood

    Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade advisor, in remarks to FT quoted at zerohedge:

    In further bad news for globalists, Navarro said one of the administration’s trade priorities was “unwinding and repatriating the international supply chains on which many US multinational companies rely, taking aim at one of the pillars of the modern global economy.”

    “It does the American economy no long-term good to only keep the big box factories where we are now assembling ‘American’ products that are composed primarily of foreign components,” he said. “We need to manufacture those components in a robust domestic supply chain that will spur job and wage growth.”

    “Unwinding supply chains” is central planning on a grand scale. Soviet industry didn’t use many foreign components, unless sourced from Comecon. Its short domestic supply chains made the USSR fabulously wealthy. /sarc

    Navarro is suffering from trumpfantiasis. Your ego swells to the size of a watermelon, and you think you’re a brilliant superhero. It’s inoperable.

    Reading such foolhardy insolence makes me more certain than ever that Commander Flake is going to send the US economy spiraling down into recession. Some of us are going to sell America short, and make some coin on the destruction of industrial value in the central planners’ trade war.

    1. Loblolly

      My heavens, the Russian threat is raising its scary head now in economic discussions.

      Keep pretending that the central planning in our economy by Banks on Wall Street does not exist and then invoke the same term to discredit anyone who attempts to help the US economy rather than loot it.

      Foolhardy insolence indeed.

      The constant refrain that the economy has changed and that jobs are not coming back is the big lie that is repeated incessantly. If those jobs had ceased to exist or were completely replaced by automation that would support your thesis, but the truth of the matter is that all of those jobs still exist and they just don’t happen to be in America.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Keep pretending that the central planning in our economy by Banks on Wall Street does not exist.

        That’s not me, bro. I give no quarter to the PhD know-nothings of the FOMC.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Trade deals like NAFTA, and entrance into the WTO, plus most favored nation status – these are all acts of central planning.

          I believe the starting point of the narrative ought to be pushed back a bit.

    2. DH

      Navarro is also fighting with Germany about the “undervalued Euro” causing Germany to run a trade surplus with the US. I think Germany’s retort is that they have worked hard to trash the European financial, economic, and social systems over the past decade and deserve to reap the rewards.

      BTW – I don’t think the S&P 500 will have significant issues revamping their global supply chain developed over the past 30 years by the end of the year. I am sure that is one of the contingency plans they have tucked away and have reserved for it, so the impact on earnings shouldn’t be much.

  21. David

    The Bloomberg article on French polls is not bad, and correctly points out how hard they are to call, with the two-round system, but it’s a bit out of date. It also falls into the trap of trying to encapsulate Le Pen as “far-right anti-immigrant anti-European Union”, which is much too glib and overlooks, for example, the solid working-class base which has defected from the Socialists and is essentially worried more about mundane things like having enough money to live on (remind you of anything?) And Le Pen is part of a group of politicians calling for leaving the Euro and re-nationalisation of various functions from the EU, a point of view which has more support among the French than the article suggests. It’s out of date because the problems of Fillon seem to be getting worse. The police raided the offices of the National Assembly today, and after four hours of searching could find no documentary or other evidence that Penelope had worked there. She never had an email account or an ID badge and no documents written by her were found. Perhaps it will come out all right, but increasingly people are starting to say that he’s “cooked” in the French idiom. That would change all the calculations.

    1. Ed

      I’ve found Galliawatch to provide through, well written, English language coverage of French politics, from a pro- FN perspective:

      From what I can gather, the situation is simple. Everyone agrees that Marine le Pen will be one of the two second round candidates, and everyone believes that she will lose in the second round against whoever is her opponent is. So the entire game is to the the other second round candidate, the one guaranteed to beat le Pen.

      At the moment this looks like someone named Macron, a globalist banker skimpily disguised as a socialist. This looks alot like a fix and someone is trying to get Fillon out of the way exposing the sort of thing that everyone must have known he was doing all the time (employing his wife at a no show job). Because both the Socialists and whatever the mainstream right is calling themselves nowadays stupidly adopted primary systems, the mainstream right may not be able to come up with a replacement for Fillon in time for the first round.

      1. Ed

        Incidentally, there will almost certainly be a right wing majority in the National Assembly after the elections, and much more so than in the US, in France the President is powerless without a national legislative majority. So this is a good election for the Socialists to lose. I’m sure this has occurred to senior people in the party. Hollande was able to convince him to let him off the hook of being the sacrificial lamb.

        1. Ed

          To comment on my comment, the political system of France is usually called “semi-presidential” but at its heart its a parliamentary system, just really disguised. Instead of confirmation hearings, the National Assembly can just withhold confidence from ministers. At the end of the day, the President has to appoint the ministers the National Assembly majority wants. And that is shaping up to be an establishment right majority, not a nominal left majority or a nationalist left majority.

          So if Le Pen actually was elected President, she would have the same problem as Harmon or at this stage anyone but Macron. She wouldn’t have legislative support even for her ministerial appointments. To an extent, Trump has the same issue in having an establishment conservative majority in Congress, and I think it will eventually kill his administration, but operating in a full presidential system he has more cards to play than le Pen would in a semi-presidential system.

          1. David

            It’s true the conventional assumption is that Le Pen will lose in the second round. This may well be true (though there’s also an element of wishful thinking). Le Pen poses a second-round problem for any right-wing challenger, in that she will outflank him from the Left (that would include Macron, in my view). But I agree that there’s little or no chance the FN having a majority in parliament. So my current nightmare scenario is: Le Pen wins the presidential by a hair, the parliamentary elections fail to produce any kind of majority. We’re back in the Fourth Republic, except that the military are not going to stage a coup this time and there’s no De Gaulle waiting. Fun and games.

  22. L

    On a different note, it appears that the Republicans have moved on to step 2 of their plan to trash federal lands and to strip them of all protection. Jason Chaffetz has introduced two bills, one to “dispose of” 3,300,000 acres of public lands. The other to strip BLM and Park Service officials of law enforcement power presumably because the events in Oregon didn’t go far enough.

    Curiously many of the lands he has identified are already leased for natural resource extraction and the others support financial revenue from tourism fishing and grazing so this really is just a crusade by a useful idiot.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Part of the problem was Obama was such a right winger, the Republican wet dreams already came true, but the suburban Republican base doesn’t directly observe these realities. They just hear the noise created by cable news and talk radio. The GOP base wants “results,” so something has to be offered. Chaeffetz proposal won’t upset anyone and can be put on a flyer. Heck, he might even say, “since this passed, we pumped so much oil,” regardless of how much oil was previously being pumped. State legislatures do this with their “balanced budget amendments” all the time. States have “balanced budgets” because no one will take “Florida Fun Bucks” and “Dakota Dineros.” It sounds nice, but states can only spend the cash they have on hand and amazingly email delivery the calendar year with a “balanced budget.” The states can still sell bonds and pay debt service on whatever they might owe, so a freeway project is delayed for eight months if there is a problem. They still put it on flyers.

      It’s similar to Trump’s “for every new regulation we need to get rid of two” executive order. So add an “and” or an “or” and call two regulations one regulation. Besides Trump just has to issue an executive order without a celebration to get around any problem this might cause for the White House.

      Expect to see this kind of legislation being proposed if pork projects aren’t opened up. Less popular members of the GOP will propose genuinely hideous stuff, but they will usually be destroyed in committee. “RINOs” will be blamed.

      1. L

        I suspect it will offend many people, in fact it already has at least in his home state. Much as the Bundy clan likes to bitch about the BLM the fact is that the cost of grazing on federal land is lower than state or private lands and once land is sold to a mining company grazing is done. The same goes for hunting or anyone else. Like it as not the BLM does blanace those things.

        You are right that the suburban anarchists that back him won’t notice it immediately because they never go outside but the fact that even some of the states that are being told to take it don’t want it (they can’t afford it) shows signs of opposition.

        I strongly suspect that they are moving so fast because they know that Trump’s sell-by date will be short and they plan to move quickly on all fronts before they can be stopped. Attack before the Enemy can regroup. Obama made this possible. And lazy showboats like Booker won’t help

        1. DH

          This has been the most baffling issue on the BLM arguments. As far as I can tell, the BLM is allowing usage and resource extraction at below market rates. Handing the land over to the states or private hands will most likely increase the costs to the people who have been whining the loudest.

          I get the impression that the Bundy’s et al are actually Communists who believe that this is truly public land where they, the people, have rights to do whatever they want at no cost or outside regulation, other than putting their own sweat and toil into it, kind of like a commune or Soviet collective farm. I think they would be stunned at what capitalism would do to their way of life, especially to their costs.

          BTW – I believe that hunters and fishermen in the West are up in arms (possibly literally) about potentially turning over BLM lands to the states as they expect that many relatively pristine areas would then be trashed for maximizing revenue extraction.

          1. Lynne

            Well……more than a few people I know despise the BLM for their absolutely horrible land management and arrogance. Noxious weeds going unchecked, BLM employees threatening neighbors (multiple unrelated complaints of threats of being thrown in jail for driving on legal rights-of-way to the driver’s private property), refusing to stop fires on federal land from going completely out of control, etc. And, of course, the PILTs don’t cover the burden. And then there’s all those fed vehicles zipping around well in excess of the speed limits and the traffic flow. Environmentally friendly they aren’t.

    2. pictboy3

      I’ve been thinking about this one a bit, and I think that it would actually be a trap for the Repubs to sell off the public lands completely, assuming your state government isn’t captured. They already lease them for preferential rates, but because they’re owned by the government, no one can touch them. If the Feds really did sell off the land, states could come right back in and seize it from the new buyers with their eminent domain power. Right now they can’t because the Feds nominally own it, and courts won’t allow states to seize land from the feds.

      Obviously, your state government would have to be 1) sympathetic and 2) not captured in order for this to work, but state politicians being easier to buy cuts both ways, and they’re far more vulnerable to grass roots pressure than national pols.

      1. L

        If they succeed in transferring these to private hands then they could never get them back. In many states eminent domain only applies in very very narrow circumstances and thus would not be a viable choice. Their goal is to make this a fait accompli and then when the wildfires cannot be stopped and the poison runs downstream they will blame others, as they did when the cut budgets threatened homes, and demand further “disposal” to make up the “losses.”

        This is a fight now, or a loss forever.

        1. pictboy3

          I did a lookthrough (admittedly not super thorough) of the eminent domain laws for the states listed in the Guardian article, and nothing I read suggests that the state would not be able to take the lands for use as public parks or wildlife refuges, except perhaps Oregon. Now I don’t know what the actual uses for the federal lands in question are right now, but if state activists could get their stuff together, I don’t see any facial legal problems with using eminent domain to take the lands after they’ve been sold. Now it would require them to sit on the local judges and pols, but like I said, they’re much more vulnerable to political pressure than national ones.

          From my understanding, a lot of the restrictions on eminent domain come from the Supreme Court decision allowing governments to seize private lands that they then sell off to developers for their own private uses. I haven’t heard of a movement in the states to restrict the eminent domain power for its traditional uses.

  23. Em Tee

    Emoluments… Could the Standing Rock / Sioux Tribe have standing, attacking Trumps supposed investment in DAPL as a fundamental conflict?? Could they get his Tax returns as part of the discovery process? Do they have no standing , if they are a separate Nation? Are they dual citizens?

    1. UserFriendly

      Interesting question. Jerri-Lynn or anyone else with more knowledge of the law have a thought?

    2. cm

      If they are a separate nation then surely they can muster their own army (complete with automatic weapons, missiles, etc.), issue their own currency and trade with whomever they wish, including North Korea. Surely they can buy & sell their own land since they’re a nation.


      1. Lynne

        Only with BIA approval. The “great white father” must have control over everything, don’t you know.

  24. DH

    This is a pretty scary read. Apparently the Trump Administration reached into the House Judiciary staff and got them to help with drafting the immigration ban executive order. The kicker is that they had the staff sign non-disclosure agreements so they couldn’t tell their bosses on the Judiciary Committee that they were working on it. This is the height of dysfunction where everybody’s integrity and trust gets undermined. If Congressional staff can be suborned so they are serving the Administration instead of Congress, then the separation of powers is greatly weakened.

    I think the President has a lot of latitude on immigration issues. However, it is incumbent on the President to ensure that this latitude is executed with just a smidgeon of competence and integrity. This immigration ban is one of the most badly executed policy actions I have seen in decades. He could have scored most of the same positive policy points with his base by integrating some diplomatic and military concerns, as well as a basic exemption of green card holders, and not created a fire storm. The AG firing is not the same as the 1973 massacre but is just symptomatic of more dysfunction.

    He wanted to be unpredictable. Well he has accomplished that. He has also left most of the world wondering if he is sufficiently competent to govern. Maybe that is part of his grand strategy, to look like an idiot so that everybody will underestimate him while he is negotiating with them.

      1. nowhere

        No. Killed hundreds of thousands of people and continues to be a foreign policy nightmare.

        Yes. Was an IT blunder that was rather embarrassing (the rollout), but did expand shoddy coverage to more people (though of course not what it should have been – Medicare for all).

  25. Jim Haygood

    Hopeful news from the Syrian front, comrades:

    A U.S.-backed alliance of Syrian militias said on Tuesday it saw signs of increased U.S. support for their campaign against Islamic State with President Donald Trump in office, a shift that would heighten Turkish worries over Kurdish power in Syria.

    SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters the U.S.-led coalition supplied the SDF with armored vehicles for the first time four or five days ago.

    “Previously we didn’t get support in this form, we would get light weapons and ammunition,” he said. “There are signs of full support from the new American leadership — more than before — for our forces.”

    With our Syrian moderates on the case — folks as nice as you’d meet at a suburban garden party — this ought to be a cakewalk. /sarc

    1. fosforos

      This is in fact very good news. The SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) are not those so-called “moderates.” They are the military coalition uniting the Kurdish people of Syria with anti-Islamist Arab allies. Their program is resolutely democratic, for which the Islamofascist and Terrorist Erdogan regime labels them as “terrorists” and allies (which they certainly are) of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the effectively-outlawed democratic movement (HDP) of people of Turkish Kurdistan. I don’t believe for a moment that it was Lying President Crooked Don who accidentally did something right. Kudos to general Flynn.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        If its true that they are getting new and more weapons, then its a deliberate poke in the eye for the Turks. Erdogan hates the SDF more than he dislikes Isis. The Russians and Assad know that most of the SDF groupings can ultimately be negotiated with so they probably aren’t that bothered.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Lying President Crooked – to many, that’s triple redundant.

        “President’ would imply all that, for them.

        1. fosforos

          But for the Trumpe-l’oeil that’s the sort of thing he likes so much to say that the redundancy should be welcome to his little ears.

      3. Andrew Watts

        It probably wasn’t Flynn who reportedly worked as a lobbyist for Turkish interests. Both the Joint Chiefs under Dempsey/Dunford and Brett McGurk at State have been supportive of the Kurdish YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces.

        I don’t think it’s a partisan issue either. Hillary talked about arming the Syrian Kurds during the electoral campaign. What choice do they have? The SDF is the only viable option for the coalition’s anti-IS fight.

  26. bwilli123

    A refreshingly unjaundiced attempt of a 30,000 foot view.
    The author is a Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.
    …”President Trump’s Critique of the Ruling Class

    The centerpiece of Trump’s critique of the current ruling elite is the negative impact of its form of globalization on US production, trade and fiscal imbalances and on the labor market. Trump cites the fact that US industrial capitalism has drastically shifted the locus of its investments, innovations and profits overseas as an example of globalization’s negative effects. For two decades many politicians and pundits have bemoaned the loss of well-paid jobs and stable local industries as part of their campaign rhetoric or in public meetings, but none have taken any effective action against these most harmful aspects of globalization. Trump denounced them as “all talk and no action” while promising to end the empty speeches and implement major changes.
    President Trump targeted importers who bring in cheap products from overseas manufacturers for the American market undermining US producers and workers. His economic strategy of prioritizing US industries is an implicit critique of the shift from productive capital to financial and speculative capital under the previous four administrations. His inaugural address attacking the elites who abandon the ‘rust belt’ for Wall Street is matched by his promise to the working class: “Hear these words! You will never be ignored again.” Trump’s own words portray the ruling class ‘as pigs at the trough’ (Financial Times, 1/23/2017, p. 11) …”

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      A refreshingly unjaundiced attempt of a 30,000 foot view.

      Agreed. This is why we need more Marxist analysis. Another excerpt:

      Trump is not a ‘protectionist’, nor is he opposed to ‘free-trade’. These charges by the garbage journalists are baseless. Trump does not oppose US economic imperialist policies abroad. However, Trump is a market realist who recognizes that military conquest is costly and, in the contemporary world context, a losing economic proposition for the US. He recognizes that the US must turn from a predominant finance and import economy to a manufacturing and export economy.

      Trump views Russia as a potential economic partner and military ally in ending the wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, and especially in defeating the terrorist threat of ISIS. He sees China as a powerful economic competitor, which has been taking advantage of outmoded trade privileges and wants to re-negotiate trade pacts in line with the current balance of economic power.

      Trump is a capitalist-nationalist, a market-imperialist and political realist, who is willing to trample on women’s rights, climate change legislation, indigenous treaties and immigrant rights. His cabinet appointments and his Republican colleagues in Congress are motivated by a militarist ideology closer to the Obama-Clinton doctrine than to Trumps new ‘America First’ agenda. He has surrounded his Cabinet with military imperialists, territorial expansionists and delusional fanatics.

      Who will win out in the short or long term remains to be seen. What is clear is that the liberals, Democratic Party hacks and advocates of Little Mussolini black shirted street thugs will be on the side of the imperialists and will find plenty of allies among and around the Trump regime.

      1. UserFriendly

        Yes, it was quite good. I loved this.

        Among the most outrageous example of the mass media’s hysteria about Trump’s New Economy is the systematic and vitriolic series of fabrications designed to obscure the grim national reality that Trump has promised to address. We will discuss and compare the accounts published by ‘garbage journalists (GJ’s)’ and present a more accurate version of the situation.

        I just finished reading Upton Sinclair’s The Brass Check, which is a monumental tear down of journalism. Many of the critiques are still relevant. I would love to see someone write that book today and have it get read by just about everyone. Here is a great review of the book:

  27. Eclair

    Activist groups in the Denver, Colorado area have been protesting the detention of undocumented folk for years. The ICE facility (a ‘contract’ detention center owned by GEO) in Aurora, a city just to the east of Denver, is the site of protests and regular vigils.

    Here is a video of one held in 2010:

  28. Lynne

    I’m actually quite disappointed by the Trumpism piece in Understanding Society. Yes, blog tag lines are just advertising, but if they claim “innovative thinking,” you’d expect more than warmed over “Trump is a Nazi” talking points. I especially was struck by its assertion that those who don’t support the established power structure must be anti-Semetic and that those people frozen out “are neither real nor all-inclusive, but are in fact a mythical and constructed sub-set of the whole population.” I suppose that means we can shut down the food banks, then, since the need is mythical. /sarc

  29. Jim Haygood

    Guerrilla senators:

    WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – Senate Democrats on Tuesday boycotted a scheduled vote in the Senate Finance Committee on Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s pick to be treasury secretary, and Rep. Tom Price to be health secretary.

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican chair of the Finance Committee, said he was nonplussed by the Democratic boycott. The committee needs at least one Democrat in order to proceed, he said.

    “We’ll just keep trying to get them to come and do their jobs. I’m very disappointed in this type of crap,” Hatch said. He said he fully intended continue to push for a vote.

    Bring on the ‘klowns.

    Communication breakdown
    It’s always the same
    I’m having a nervous breakdown
    Drive me insane!

    — Led Zeppelin

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can a Republican on the Finance Committee become a Democrat for a day (a shorter term version of Sanders), in order to spoil the D’s plan, if they need at least one Democrat to proceed?

      “I was a Democrat for a day.”

  30. Roger Smith

    The Fix-Nothing Farce of Symbolic Politics – Charles H. Smith

    “That’s how the fraud and the rackets are enforced: get each camp to view the other as the enemy in the great coliseum of symbolic, do-nothing politics. Mix and stir, then stand back and continue skimming the nation’s wealth in whatever racket is buttering your bread while the two camps distract themselves with symbolic battles. ”

    Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!” We need to destroy our tribalist urges. They are being exploited

  31. fresno dan

    The Inevitability Of Impeachment Robert Kuttner, HuffPo. The key? Moderate Republicans. Let me know how that works out.

    1. Impeachment is gaining ground because it is the only way to get him out, and because Republicans are already deserting this president in droves, and because the man is psychiatrically incapable of checking whether something is LEGAL before he does it.

    2. Impeachment is gaining ground because it’s so horribly clear that Trump is unfit for office.

    3. Unlike in the various dictatorships Trump admires, the complex skein of constitutional legal and political checks on tyranny in the United States are holding—just barely at times, but they are holding. And the more reckless Trump’s behavior, the stronger become the checks.

    4. The more unhinged he becomes, the less will conservative judges be the toadies to ordinary Republican policies that they too often have been.

    5. Sen. Lindsey Graham, mocking Trump’s own nutty tweeting habits, sent out a tweet calling a trade war with Mexico “mucho sad.”

    6. Trump proposed to reinstate torture, but key Republican leaders killed that idea. Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate’s third ranking Republican said Wednesday that the ban on torture was settled law and the Republicans in Congress would oppose any reinstatement.

    This is not exhaustive – I would have had to analyse every word, including ‘and’, and ‘the’.

    1. LOL – need I remind people of Michael Kinsley’s ‘the scandal is not what is illegal, the scandal is what’s legal’
    2. Unfit for office…. 50 years of rising inequality under both parties…. endless war…. who has been fit for office?
    3. Yeah…..the constitution and the laws did a fine job of stopping torture, expanding surveillance, prosecuting bankers, etc., and prosecuting people afterwards who tortured…..
    4. “…less will conservative judges be the toadies to ordinary Republican policies…” I laughed so hard I hurt myself…severely.
    5. “Sen. Lindsey Graham” I invoke fresnodan law 1, “If you have Lindsay Graham on your side, Churchill would enlist BOTH Stalin and the devil to fight you.
    6. “Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate’s third ranking Republican said Wednesday that the ban on torture was settled law…” You know what? It was settled law when Bush instituted it, apparently getting around it by the clever use of calling it ‘enhanced interrogation***’ And all the DoJ people…who went along…and all those federal judges who went along. And Obama saying that he would NOT prosecute those accused of ‘enhanced interrogating’ de facto means that the REAL US policy is torture at will.

    If Trump is impeached, it will be due to repubs who understand that Trump imperils their grift…as well as dems. Don’t give me this, “that’s not who we are” – if you don’t know who we “are” by now, your not trying to know….
    *** Torture in all forms is banned by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which the United States participated in drafting. The United States is a party to the following conventions (international treaties) that prohibits torture, such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions (signed 1949; ratified 1955), the American Convention on Human Rights (signed 1977), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed 1977; ratified 1992), and the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (signed 1988; ratified 1994). It has neither signed nor ratified the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture.[13] International law defines torture during an armed conflict as a war crime. It also mandates that any person involved in ordering, allowing, and even insufficiently preventing and prosecuting war crimes is criminally liable under the command responsibility doctrine.

  32. Waldenpond

    The phony constitutional crisis now leads to writing from the Guardian for a general strike…. it was time for one but looks like that’s been co-opted by the liberal elite.

    Talking about the house that Ds built got me thinking. I got ‘we’d yesterday. Please.

    I’m kind of at the point of … don’t “we” me. There is no we. It’s the comfort afflicted doing performative politics on behalf of billionaire owned private clubs.

    Neo-libs, libs and progressives did this. No matter how horrid the policies, no matter how corrupt the politician, libs and progs insist on standing with the neos.

    Sashay into a town. Pour fuel on a random house, any will do. Spark it with a silver engraved lighter (ooh, it has crystals). The house is fully engulfed. Call for help.

    Here’s the problem. The firemen have literally been fired. The volunteers aren’t showing up. The public hospital was shut down and the nearest private hospital is two hours away, bring an insurance card.

    The only way neo-liberals will go away, is if the liberals and progressives hands are around the neo-liberals throats, because the D base has it so bad, it’s a cold, dead hands situation. There is no stopping the dependency.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Liberals are neoliberals. Like conservatives, they put markets first. That’s why they oppose Medicare for All and support ObamaCare. (Granted, individuals not in the Beltway can be more sensible. But in the political class, that is most definitely what liberal means.)

      1. clinical wasteman

        The part about the firemen and the hospital is also true of course, but I didn’t see it right away. Instead I read:

        Sashay into a town. Pour fuel on a random house, any will do. Spark it with a silver engraved lighter (ooh, it has crystals). The house is fully engulfed. Call for help.

        and decided it was THE best imaginable allegorical account of the way the neo/liberal recent past* went about creating the present conflagration and then screamed about it.
        Actually I still think so.

        (*That means you too BlairBrownSchroederTrichetZapateroProdi, not just your transAtlantic mentors)

  33. Vatch

    3 More Scandals That Will Have You Saying, ‘WTF Wells Fargo’ Fortune.

    So naturally, the Trump administration removed a web site for Wells Fargo whistleblowers. An article about this was included in the Jan. 29 links section of Naked Capitalism. There have been several articles published about this; here’s another:

    Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) found itself in an unusual position over the past few months, going from golden child of the bank industry to its fallen angel thanks to a scandal and a series of regulatory missteps. But the tide has already begun to turn for the nation’s third biggest bank by assets, thanks in no small part to the new presidential administration.

    The regulatory rollback has begun

    Earlier this week, the U.S. Labor Department removed a website it had created to log complaints from Wells Fargo employees who claimed to have been retaliated against by supervisors for blowing the whistle on a massive fake-account scandal that look place at the bank from at least 2011 through 2015. Click on the link today, and it reads “Page not found.”

    The removal was noted by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren in a letter to acting Labor Secretary Edward Hugler. “Taking down this website enables Wells Fargo to escape full responsibility for its fraudulent actions and the department to shirk its outstanding obligations to American workers,” she wrote.

    This move is consistent with other ones that the Trump administration has taken to begin rolling back regulations in the financial services industry and others. But it comes at an especially important time for Wells Fargo.

    If there is any doubt about whether Trump will help the middle and lower income people in small towns and rural areas who supported him, I think we have our answer. He will not help them. Hillary Clinton would not have helped them, either, but she’s not the President. Since Trump is the President, we must oppose his bad policies; if Clinton were the President, we would have to oppose her bad policies.

    Please call your Senators’ offices and tell them that you oppose the nominations of Steven Mnuchin to be Treasury Secretary and Andrew Puzder to be the Secretary of Labor. Don’t let the Trump administration get away with rewarding criminal behavior by Wells Fargo.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Call your Senators? You mean the ones who let this all slide with royal bailouts, bonuses and immunity with impunity to do it all again, or the new ones who haven’t yet? E. Warren wouldn’t even endorse lil ol Bernie over Hillary. But we need a website nobody ever heard of. Where’s my pen*s hat? I’ll hit the streets today.

      Stockholm Syndrome.. look it up, amigo. Kabuki too. The U.S. Senate is designed to do exactly what it has done since inception.

      1. Waldenpond

        I have seen the Ds tell people not to call corporations because so poor schlub has to answer the phone and it’s abusive.

        When someone ‘calls their Senator’ some poor schlub is answering the phone and doing their best to mark boxes for a tally. Issue a,b or c. Pro-con. The forms are tallied and might be e-mailed or passed out at a meeting at the end of the day, week or month. Senators don’t actually get phone calls, nor messages.

        1. Vatch

          Here’s what I said:

          Please call your Senators’ offices

          I didn’t say “call your Senators”, although if I had said that, the meaning still would have been clear.

          It’s not difficult, and if you don’t want to do it, I respect your choice. But if you actively discourage other people from calling their Senators’ offices, then you are acting as an agent of the oligarchs, whether you intend to do so or not. Billionaires love it when discouraged people tell others that there’s no point in becoming active in politics. That means that the status quo won’t change, except in the ways that the billionaires want it to change. Don’t let yourself be a used as a tool of the oligarchs.

          1. Eureka Springs

            As I said the U.S. Senate was designed and created to make sure representative Democracy of/by/for the rest of us doesn’t happen. It’s doing the constitutional task rather well.

            So call an oligarch protecting servant who is bought and paid for to represent other oligarchs to ask their clerk to tell them not to. Maybe you will get a form letter someday in response. I used to have a stack, even some rather long hand written replies from Senators in the R party… whom I never voted for.

            I recall calls were made 100 against to every 1 for those bailouts, btw. How’d all that calling work out?

            Who do you think Trump would nominate or these D/R Senators are going to approve even if they deny this round of nominees?

            You might get a website out of it. Because that really challenges things.

            1. Vatch

              I recall calls were made 100 against to every 1 for those bailouts

              The phone calls were more like 20 to 1 against the bailouts. Public opinion polling was either for or against the bailouts, depending on the wording of the polls.

              There’s a meaningful difference between now and autumn, 2008. A lot of people have been awakened by the candidacy of Bernie Sanders (and even by Donald Trump). What failed in 2008 might succeed today. Or you can assiduously work to discourage people from taking charge of their lives. I know what my preference is.

                1. Vatch

                  Perhaps Sherrod Brown’s constituent call numbers weren’t representative of other Congressfolk’s numbers. The first version of the bailout was rejected on Sept. 29, 2008. Anyhow, my point about how things have changed due to Sanders (and the pre-election perceptions of Trump’s supporters) stands.

    2. dbk

      The Democrats on the Finance Committee did not show up for the Finance Committee votes on Mnuchin and Price today. Uh-oh.

      Given that they did show up for DeVos and Sessions, it looks like they’ve decided to dig in their heels on Mnuchin.

      The start of a strategy, perhaps?

  34. fritter


    The contrast between Trump’s first week and Obama’s 100 days is stark.

    Can’t we focus on the fascist we don’t like (Trump), instead of the ones the Democrats and Republicans have been forcing down our throats for 30 years. /s

    All this talk of “own”ership seems to me a cynical political ploy. I don’t quite get the reasoning. There no talk of owning Obama, Bush(s), or Clinton. Without whom Trump wouldn’t have near the authority he has now. The problem has never been about the people in the office, its the hero worship and tribalism of the ones who put them there. Even after Trump is elected the credentialed leeches can’t admit that they are the problem. Instead they blame Trump for doing some of the things he said he would do. Their arrogance is astounding if you think about it. Not only to they demand no accountability for the puppets they make us choose between. They want everyone but the masses exempt from any accountability as well.

  35. ScottW

    Anecdote from Sunday’s Boston march: Copley Square was packed and overflowing. Sens. Warren & Markey spoke, along with Mayor Walsh (same folks who spoke a week earlier at the Women’s march). City public works blocked streets to facilitate the demonstration and a very small visible police presence. Absolutely no presence of anti-war/bombing signs. I mentioned we have been bombing 7 Muslim countries for some time and people looked at their shoes. My sign for the Women’s March: “Healthcare is a Human Right, War is Not,” and for the immigration march: “Ban Bombing Muslims.”

    As has been noted here and many other places, anti-war messages are dead. Sad indeed.

    As for today’s posts, the Ian Welsch recommendation was perfect. Sums up the “liberal” and “left” divide very well. Paid special interests will always beat volunteer/low paid “progressives” who ultimately bicker with each other and part ways. The “litmus test” of what it means to be a “true” “progressive” or “leftist” always leads to division and separation. In the end, most people only seem to be able to agree with themselves.

    1. Waldenpond

      Well, I view volunteerism as wage theft. Might be some have a bit of that feeling also? If so, it’s hard to keep the dedication up when you see those higher in the hierarchy getting paid and you aren’t. Billions and billions of dollars in politics and a lot of people are getting stiffed.

      Order your campaign flyer and sticker packet here for only $49.95.

      1. aab


        Also, Brock’s leaked strategy memo apparently plans on lots of unpaid volunteers during ShareBlue’s bidding.– which is EXACTLY the same failed strategy AND tactical plan as Correct The Record. Like, it wouldn’t shock me if chunks of this were just a global search and replace on the organization’s name.

        To ScottW’s point, I disagree. Bernie’s mostly unpaid/underpaid army did much better than Clinton’s hired guns, except for when her hired guns were actually planted inside his organization.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      1) I think the division between putting markets first and not putting them first is pretty easy to make. Beyond that, I’m not sure it makes a lot of sense of subdivide

      2) Not to repeat myself, but a simple platform of universal programs that provide concrete material benefits to working people would solve a lot of this. People keep worrying about means when its the end that’s important.

      “You start coding and I’ll go find out what the requirements are!”

  36. armchair

    As to the tenor of complaining that Trump is merely a continuation of Bush and Obama policies, so why all the outrage now? The criticism is valid, and the sins of the past are haunting us, but is it wise to poo-poo staunch resistance to Trump? FDR’s first 100 days happened in 1933, which was 84 years ago. Some very nice thing happened since then like civil rights legislation and Medicare, but these opportunities to enact major improvements are exceedingly rare. Among the politicians that voted for FDR’s policies, there were hypocrites and opportunists, just as there hypocrites and opportunists that voted for civil rights legislation and Medicare. Cory Booker and Charles Schumer are undoubtedly hypocritical and opportunistic, but so what? These are the chaotic times when change is possible. Some of us have been waiting our whole lives to see the energy level that’s out there right now. The point is that the energy is so fervent that Cory Booker and Charles Schumer are chasing it. It is much bigger than them. If we put all of our energy into complaining about the imperfections of our past, the opportunity for significant change may be squandered. Who wants to wait another 84 years?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Democratic unity in the 00’s brought Obama. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend. This is the lesson of the last eight years. Fighting Trump to install the ilk of Pence or Booker isn’t a victory.

      It needs to be asked what are the goals of the energy for change. The outrage was absent when Obama did it. When Obama rounded up 2 million economic refugees, where was the outrage?

      “More and better Democrats” is dead. The Era of Democratic unity is dead. If you want unity, you need to negotiate and explain your behavior. A few days ago Corey Booker was just fine screwing Americans, but now Democrats are praising him.

      The reaction to the women’s Saturday walk about versus cabbies taking personal risks is quite different.

      1. armchair

        It is interesting that Trump is going to face a rebellion from the establishment. This certainly complicates the narrative. I’ve read quotes from John Negroponte and Dick Cheney pushing back on Trump. Who wants to be involved in something with friends like that? Generally, no decent person associates with those two characters. Yet, here we are. I’m being nit-picky too, but why stop now? There is a lot of push right now, and this may be a good time to really push. Where we need to push is to a time before the Patriot Act, a time before Guatanamo, a time before extraordinary rendition, a time before drone attacks, a time before warrantless wiretaps. If the point is that Obama was not good enough and we need to really push harder then we did during Obama years, great, but if the point is that Obama was a hypocrite so everyone should sit on their hands, then WTF?

        1. nowhere

          “If the point is that Obama was not good enough and we need to really push harder then we did during Obama years, great, but if the point is that Obama was a hypocrite so everyone should sit on their hands, then WTF?”

          Thank you for stating what I have struggled to put into words.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        “The outrage was absent when Obama did it.”

        IMNSHO that is exactly the problem here. Not to many at this website are rooting for Trump, quite the opposite in fact. The reason that you and I and many others feel it necessary to keep reminding how bad Obama was is precisely because the so-called liberals protested during the Bush years and then fell silent as Obama institutionalized the worst of the Bush era policies.

        My fear and that of many others I’m guessing is that we are in for a repeat performance. Trump may be a one term president or impeached before that but so what if the replacement is just someone who keeps the same policies while managing not to drool on themselves while doing it? Clean cut and articulate shouldn’t excuse warmongering, bankster loving policy.

        I’d like to think ‘We won’t get fooled again’ but I’m not feeling particularly sanguine about that.

        1. nowhere

          “The reason that you and I and many others feel it necessary to keep reminding how bad Obama was is precisely because the so-called liberals protested during the Bush years and then fell silent as Obama institutionalized the worst of the Bush era policies.”

          And how many readers of this site are libruls that just repeatedly go on and on about how great Obama was? The past few days I keep reading that it’s all Obama’s fault for Trump’s choices. This in fact false. Obama’s policies were shitty and a continuation of Bush 43. One of the arcs of this site was to point this out.

          Trump is choosing to continue these shitty policies. Meaning he is being a shitty President too, and it has nothing to do with Obama.

    2. Waldenpond

      You just answered your own question of why many won’t unify with the D base. I’ll use another’s language… I find the ‘resistance’ to be opportunistic and without principle.

      Your language (referring to refusing to be used yet again for a one way street allyship) ‘poo-poo’ is one of belittlement.

      Unprincipled: referring to the ‘resistance’ an enacting major improvements is not factual.
      Opportunistic: outrage, haunting, rare, chaotic, energy, fervent, bigger, imperfect, squandered.

      All of this on behalf of ‘Cory Booker so what’ ….

      Belittling those you demand as allies and then coughing up the grand prize of Cory Booker is not a strategy for success.

    3. Vatch

      Over the past several years, there has been a huge amount of outrage directed towards Obama here at Naked Capitalism. Before that, plenty was directed towards Bush. It’s tragic that there weren’t enough other people in the country participating in the outrage against those two, but we can’t change the past. Now, when there finally is a lot of widespread outrage directed towards bad Presidential policies, shouldn’t we be glad that people are waking up?

      1. Fiery Hunt

        But Vatch, are they waking up?

        I don’t believe it for a moment.

        Too many just want the same shitty leadership, the same shitty policies that we had 2 months ago.. . ,

        These “outraged” twits are STILL unable to see that THEY THEMSELVES and their allegiance to Third Way Corporate crap was, and is, the PROBLEM.
        Booker, Harris, Pelosi, Clinton, Obama…crooks all.

        No principles, no insight, no vision.

        1. Vatch

          are they waking up?

          Some are. Maybe not enough yet, so we have to keep trying. Trump’s Republican faction is bad, and the Third Way Democratic faction is bad. Which one has the power and the intention to cause harm right now? That’s the faction we need to oppose now.

  37. Vatch

    Donald Trump Teases His Supreme Court Nominee Announcement on Twitter ABC. Tonight! During prime time! I’m guessing Larry Tribe. Kidding!

    Of course you’re kidding. It’s going to be Anita Hill, because Clarence Thomas’s reaction will be HYUUUUGE!

  38. dbk

    DeVos just approved by the HELP Committee, so her nomination advances to the Senate floor. Vote split down party lines 12-11.

    Up next: Sessions (committee has already exceeded the 2-hour limit; the Dems are each speaking for 15-30 minutes). Still ongoing.

    1. Vatch

      I am grateful for the dedicated Republicans who are doing so much to solve the crucial problem of grizzly bears in our big city public schools.

  39. Vatch

    This article is ten days old, but I don’t think it has appeared here yet. If it has, I apologize.

    One of the biggest cheers President Donald Trump received from supporters watching his inaugural address on Friday was his call to “buy American and hire American.”

    It was a moment rich in irony.

    Many of those supporters were sporting Trump’s trademark red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps that were made in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

    My Bernie hat was made in the USA.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like that guy in the film, Life of Brian.

      “I ought to know. I have worshiped a few false Messiahs and worn a few cheap baseball caps.”

  40. Katharine

    A quotation from Yates’s confirmation hearing:

    SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Do you think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that’s improper? A lot of people have defended the Lynch nomination, for example, by saying, “Well, he appoints somebody who’s going to execute his views. What’s wrong with that?” But if the views the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no?

    SALLY YATES: Senator, I believe that the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president.

    SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: Like any CEO with a law firm, sometimes the lawyers have to tell the CEO, “Mr. CEO, you can’t do that. Don’t do that. We’ll get a suit. It’s going to be in violation of the law. You’ll regret it. Please,” no matter how headstrong they might be. Do you feel like that’s the duty on the Attorney General’s Office?

    SALLY YATES: I do believe that that’s the duty of the Attorney General’s Office, to fairly and impartially evaluate the law and to provide the president and the administration with impartial legal advice.

    SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: And just as in a fraud case or any other drug case you might have prosecuted—excellently, it appears—over the years, immigration law is important to be consistently and effectively enforced, should it not?

    SALLY YATES: I believe that all of our laws should be consistently and effectively enforced and within the confines of the Constitution.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It is reported that:

      the department’s Office of Legal Counsel “found the Executive Order both lawful on its face and properly drafted.”

      Others might disagree.

      But that was from her own ex-department.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I google search this: ‘the department’s Office of Legal Counsel “found the Executive Order both lawful on its face and properly drafted,’ and find it in many stories, from abcnews, washington post, the guardina, nbcnews, politico, etc.

      1. Katharine

        As explained here, the OLC has a different function from the Attorney General’s office:
        “My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right.”

  41. Jim Haygood

    Cali on the warpath:

    SACRAMENTO ( — California may prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, creating a border-to-border sanctuary in the nation’s largest state.

    The Democratic legislation, written by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, comes up for debate Tuesday. The Judiciary Committee will also consider fast-tracked legislation that would spend state money, in an amount that has not been disclosed, to provide lawyers for people facing deportation.

    Right to counsel? How un-American is that. /sarc

    Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita
    Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
    You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane
    All they will call you will be “deportees”

    — Woody Guthrie

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What would happen, if, hypothetically, if the city of Fresno then were to pass a law to not cooperate with the State of California?

      1. fresno dan

        January 31, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        “What would happen, if, hypothetically, if the city of Fresno then were to pass a law to not cooperate with the State of California?”
        I suspect so many lawyers that it comes down to just do what you wanna do….

        Out of California’s 58 counties, 21 counties voted against the proposition.

        But while Proposition 64, the recreational marijuana law, passed in the state, a map of the counties that voted against it show a contiguous swath of counties through California’s Central Valley where voters didn’t think legal weed was a good idea.

        I think the marijuana law allows home growers 3 plants…..which seems like a crime against nature. Do I only get to harvest 3 oranges off my orange tree??? BIG marijuana scam…
        Of course, when they hybridize those marijuana plants with redwoods….3 plants should be plenty ….I will have to have pet monkeys for harvesting….
        3 plants…..that means I have to be in reality most of the day….and that really sucks.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A fractal question.

      What would happen, if, hypothetically, if the city of Fresno then were to pass a law to not cooperate with the State of California?

    3. Fiery Hunt

      I thought you had to be an American to enjoy American rights

      Nice to know I’ll be taxed to pay for every fricking illegal alien’s legal aid.

      1. lambert strether

        I think if wealth distribution were at a sane level, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

        But we’re all crabs in a bucket now, and you can’t blame a crab in a bucket for behaving like a crab in a bucket.

  42. optimader

    California may prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, creating a border-to-border sanctuary in the nation’s largest state

    Break out the popcorn, this will be interesting because that’s not how it works.

    –I may not be an attorney, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’d be very scared if we actually seceded.

        What would happen to people on Social Security and Medicare?

        1. oho

          hypothetically to take it to the extreme, I’d bet that the rural areas, where all the mountain water lies + farmland, would want to remain in the USA.

          What then? Mayor of SF sends in the SFPD to seize the reservoirs?

    1. alex morfesis

      Kalipornia is $hilarious…teddy roosevelt on his way out the door had to fight the “Alien Land Title” Laws and the miscegenation where it was illegal for a white person to marry a japanese person…

      Kalipornia had already stuck the shiv to the Chinese in earlier legislation…

      Oh well…from one extreme to another…

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is the exact same argument that Stephen Douglas used, on why popular sovereignty was still a viable doctrine even after Dred Scott. The past is not dead…

  43. anonymous

    Re immigration ban: It would seem to me that there is an arguable legal issue with how the executive order was drafted. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which is now 8 U.S. Code 1152 says “No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”

  44. CRS

    We’re the lawyers suing President Trump: his business dealings violate the Constitution

    For example, in Havens Realty v. Coleman (1982), the United States Supreme Court held that an organization devoted to racial equality in housing had standing to sue to challenge illegal discrimination because the defendant’s conduct caused it to divert resources that otherwise could be used for other equality-advancing projects. The Court explained that “[s]uch concrete and demonstrable injury to the organization’s activities — with the consequent drain on the organization’s resources — constitutes far more than simply a setback to the organization’s abstract social interests” and thus are sufficient for standing.

  45. Oregoncharles

    ” I love it when architects are all “Who would want to live here?” when they’re talking about a house they designed and built.” (On the David Frum article)

    Who would know better?

    And yes, I realize it’s a faction-out-of-power example; in this case, an Iron Law case.

  46. hunkerdown

    > See many small companies in broadcast TV?

    What of all those little blipverts after the closing credits?

    “It’s a production company,” Cuban said. “No production company is worth more than $2 million.”

    And he’s right. By the time you separate the production infrastructure from the content it produces — content that is usually owned by someone else who pays for making it — all that’s left over is about $2 million in residual payments, office furniture, editing equipment, and BMW leases.

    There are probably 1000 legitimate production companies in California and 2000 in America overall. If they are worth an average of $2 million each, buying them all would cost $4 billion.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Interesting! Thanks for the corrective information — from a purely business perspective.

      However, as far as content creation and intellectual property, I stand by the original comment.

  47. Knot Galt

    “And where was the hysteria when Obama decided he could whack US citizens on his “disposition matrix” without judicial review? And did so? Sure hope Trump doesn’t start using that precedent!”

    That’s exactly the problem. He will not only use the precedent but use it fully to his advantage. It’s in The Art of the Deal for Christ sake. This is why I think Obama did the country in. Instead of holding Bush policies accountable to bad governance, he legitimized it for the next monster to come in and raise even greater havoc?

  48. ewmayer

    Re. the firing of the acting AG, I reader the Reuters piece about it:

    Note: ‘Yates, an appointee of former Democratic President Barack Obama, was days away from being replaced by Trump’s pick for the top spot at the Justice Department, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, who is awaiting Senate confirmation’ — but the very public firing is powerful messaging by the White House, as many of the flurry of executive orders are also clearly intended to be. It is also hard to overlook the irony of ‘Officials from the State Department circulated a draft memo of dissent on Monday, saying Trump’s move would hurt America’s image abroad and inflame anti-American sentiment.’ They are of course correct, but where were these worthies when the Obama administration was bombing these very same countries?

  49. Procopius

    And where was the hysteria when Obama decided he could whack US citizens on his “disposition matrix” without judicial review? And did so? Sure hope Trump doesn’t start using that precedent!

    You know, this is the very first comment I’ve seen that reflects that concern. I’ve been saying since before he blew Anwar Al Awlaki away that this is a return to the Star Chamber, which started out with good intentions (a special court for the rich and powerful so they could not escape justice) and became the very name of tyranny. I would hope that other lefties recognize the danger of the precedent, but although I posted comments about it many times I never saw one single other comment that expressed the concern. There surely must have been some. Surely some people now will recognize the danger?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There were comments and news coverage at the time; I remember the story was that Obama changed Bush’s “kill list” to a “disposition matrix.”

      IIRC, Bush kept photographs of the people he wanted to whack in his desk, and put a big red X over the ones where he succeeded. Obama, who is (of course) a genuinely nice guy, full of class, with a lovely family, didn’t do anything so crude. I’m sure that when he whacked a US citizen, he was genuinely regretful, and even if he was a “constitutional lawyer,” just didn’t think about whether he was setting a precedent or not.

  50. CRS

    Reports of U.S. Customs and Border Protection defying court orders and strong-arming green card holders into signing away their rights to live in the U.S.: From the Daily Beast:

    And their need for attorneys was urgent. Slate reported that at least two detainees—a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old, both citizens of Yemen—signed away their green cards while they were in detention without access to lawyers.

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