Links 1/6/17

Bored teens take horses, goat to local McDonald’s Powell Tribune

Man helps save ‘lucky dog’ from icy river Des Moines Register

Huge Antarctic iceberg poised to break away BBC (DL).

January Cold Blast to Bring Snow to Europe, Boost Gas Prices Bloomberg

Jon Corzine to Pay $5 Million for Role in Collapse of MF Global WSJ. Of course, if he’d stolen a loaf of bread from a convenience store….

Deutsche Bank’s Financial Crimes Cop to Quit Over Staffing Bloomberg

When Jamie Dimon Met François Hollande: Inside France’s Secret Plan to Lure Brexit Bankers WSJ

Draghi’s German Problem Flares Up as Inflation Surge Stirs Anger Bloomberg

Embattled Bank of Cyprus pays off bailout loan Euractive

Is Emirates Airline Running Out of Sky? Bloomberg

Why car and tech companies have different visions for self-driving cars Vox

Digital Dunkin’: Non-Tech Firms Crash CES, Looking to Connect WSJ. “Scott Hudler, chief digital officer at 66-year-old Dunkin’ Donuts, brought a team this year to learn how self-driving car technology could inform a passenger of the closest Dunkin’ location and how to reroute the car to make a coffee stop.”

Longtime Apple fans feel forced to buy ‘pathetic’ and ‘old’ Macs from 2013 Business Insider (JM).

Apple survived a horrible 2016 and the end of its golden age. Now what? Venture Beat

Capitulation Time.code(). Guy needs a Mac Pro, which Apple is trying to kill through neglect, so he can keep writing iOS books.


Cameron’s failure looms over May’s Brexit task FT

Single Market Access Not for Sale, Ex Top EU Official Warns U.K. Bloomberg

We can’t wash our hands of Britain David McWilliams


China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020 NYT. 13 million jobs…

Wave of spending tightens China’s grip on renewable energy FT

New Cold War

U.S. Intelligence Report Identifies Russians Who Gave DNC Emails to Wikileaks Time. Anonymous sources anticipating the publication of the (unclassified) report on “Russian hacking” that Obama was briefed to yesterday, Trump will be today, with the public version to be released next week. (Besides the public version, there is a “Top Secret” version, and an “uncompartmentalized” version.) Watch out for squalls.

Emails were leaked, not hacked Baltimore Sun (MR). Binney and McGovern mainstreamed, albeit on the outer limits of the Beltway.

The Enemy Du Jour Is Always Hacking Moon of Alabama

FBI: DNC rebuffed request to examine computer servers CNN and FBI, Dems bicker over investigation of hacked servers The Hill. It’s hard to think of a good reason for the DNC to be doing this, given the problems it creates for “the narrative.” In yesterday’s hearing, Clapper said the CIA’s sourcing on “Russian hacking” is “fragile,” meaning probably HUMINT — ***cough*** Curveball ***cough*** — and the JAR report evidence is based solely on third-party CrowdStrike analysis. So far, what we have is human verification on a “trust us” basis, and technical verification of a DNC “hack” coming from a DNC vendor, though perhaps there will be more in the forthcoming report. Oh, and what didn’t the DNC want the FBI to see?

The FBI’s new server screwup isn’t as bad as it sounds The Verge. “This is normal practice.” Except the context — charges of treason, a war scare, a contested transition of power — isn’t normal at all. And this isn’t a year where “trust us, we’re professionals” has the traction it used to.

U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win WaPo. “Those and other data points are at the heart of an unprecedented intelligence report being circulated in Washington this week… The classified document, which officials said is over 50 pages.”

US intelligence chiefs reject Trump doubts on Russian hacking FT. Film at 11.

Russian hacking claims: US spy chief promises Putin motive BBC. Presumably in next week’s news cycle.

Literary Agents The New Republic (MR). “Gloria Steinem, who worked with the CIA in the 1950s and ’60s, ‘was happy to find some liberals in government in those days,’ arguing that the agency was “nonviolent and honorable.'” Yes, that Gloria Steinem. Admirably consistent.

Defense Firms Cash In Amid Soaring Demand for Munitions WSJ

Trump Transition

Top Democrat Would Support Challenge to Electoral Vote Certification ABC

Trump to tap ex-Sen. Dan Coats as intelligence chief Politico

Kamala Harris Fails to Explain Why She Didn’t Prosecute Steven Mnuchin’s Bank David Dayen, The Intercept

Democrats Denounced Sanders’ Ideas as “Impossible,” Now Many are Starting to Materialize Counterpunch

How to repeal and replace ObamaCare today? Use Medicare. The Hill. Too simple.

The Republican Study Committee’s ACA Replacement Proposal Health Affairs. Tax deductions are even more crapified than tax credits.

House Republicans revive obscure rule that allows them to slash the pay of individual federal workers to $1 WaPo

Corporations Prepare to Gorge on Tax Cuts Trump Claims Will Create Jobs The Intercept

Trump is about to have a lesson in Civics 101. Daily Kos. Maybe. On the other hand, people who have underestimated Trump have been consistently wrong. And it’s not clear the Democrat nomenklatura can, at this point, give lessons to anyone.

Advice for media and Trump from two former presidential press secretaries CJR (pq)

The full transcript from the Trump transition team’s Thursday call to reporters WaPo

Internet Archive’s Trump Archive launches today Internet Archive. Lots of video.

Beyond Anti-Trump Paul Street, Counterpunch. The nice thing about #Resistance, conceptually, is that the most favorable outcome is a return to the status quo ante.

Democrats need to slow Uber’s roll Matt Stoller, Albany Times-Union

2016 Post Mortem

Clinton vs. de Blasio for New York Mayor? Unlikely Idea Has People Talking NYT. Help me.

Yes Folks, Trade Really Did Cost Manufacturing Jobs CEPR. The comments are interesting.

Our Famously Free Press

WaPo Spreading Own Falsehoods Shows Real Power of Fake News FAIR

Imperial Collapse Watch

How to Make America Great Again with Other People’s Money Club Orlov

Air Force secretary: B-52 crew did ‘magnificent job’ when engine dropped from plane over ND West Fargo Pioneer (CL).

Class Warfare


Does Redistribution Increase Output? Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Market Failure and Income Distribution: Notes for Economics in Two Lessons Crooked Timber

The Death Of Expertise The Federalist (DK).

5 Economics Terms We All Should Use Bloomberg

Standing Rock activists are looking to hit the Dakota Access pipeline’s finances to cement their win Business Insider

Antidote du jour (via):

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. Clive

    The article on (the Republic of) Ireland’s relationship with the U.K. is a very good piece. While Brussels and London are seemingly set on a murder / suicide pact Brexit, political and geographic realities can’t be ignored as N.I. / Eire shows. Spain / Gibraltar is another. It’ll make it all more messy rather than less, but it could serve to undermine the ability of the Germany / France alliance to attempt to speak for the whole of the EU. That said, Greece and Cyprus (and even Ireland itself) show that the Eurocrats won’t think twice about throwing entire countries wishes under the bus in order to “protect” “the European project”.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The main problems in the Republic with organising a response to Brexit is two-fold:

      1. The current government is a very unstable coalition – they find it hard to do anything that is not part of the coalition agreement, which pre-dates Brexit. The ‘whispers’ I’ve heard from people I know who work in the civil service here is that they are finding it very hard to get decisions made on topics that are not part of the original government agenda. I think its seen as a hot potato and nobody wants to ‘own’ the issue, so in the absence of a strong direction from Enda Kenny (prime minister), nothing will happen – and so far he seems not to have made up his mind about it (he is not exactly known as a strategic deep thinker).

      2. The obvious ‘route’ for a bilateral agreement with the UK is via the Northern Ireland Executive and the existing Anglo-Irish structures. Unfortunately, the NI Executive is a joint one between the DUP and Sinn Fein. The DUP is pro-Brexit and the current leader, Arlene Foster is a hardliner with not a fibre of pragmatism in her body. And the current government in the Republic is ardently anti-Sinn Fein and is terrified of giving them a shred of legitimacy, so they will not deal with them in any way. Add this to May being generally anti-Irish in her past history (one of the few things she was associated with before coming to office was her opposition to the Northern Ireland peace agreement), there is simply no easy structure for the Irish government to gain entry to bi-lateral agreements with the UK, unless London co-operates. And the complete failure of London to reach out is as good evidence as any that its Brexit strategy is in chaos. If they knew what they were doing they would be using the Republic as a wedge to break open any EU strategy to make life hard for the UK.

      Also, speculating a bit, I think there may be a fear in London that the Republic would help the Scots in a breakaway – there have been lots of whispers about the Scots and NI coming under the Republic’s ‘umbrella’ to maintain EU membership, although that’s gone a bit quiet lately. I suspect that the Brexiteers in London, and maybe May herself, has specifically blocked any attempts at bilateral talks to prevent this happening.

      1. Clive

        You couldn’t make it up, could you? And yes, that’s a very important point about Ulster power sharing being one dynamic (with Sinn Fein and the DUP), the Republic bring another (Sinn Fein and Fine Gael). Then you’ve got as you say Scottish nationalist (separatists) in league with the Republic — I wouldn’t discount this rearing it’s head again as we get to the end of the Article 50’s two years. Then you’ve got London and N.I. and Dublin as some sort of push-me-pull-me but with three heads. And, out of all this lot of sometimes convergening, sometimes diametrically opposed forces, the reality that something has to be decided for the border, which is a fact and not going to go away.

        Do you reckon any of this will be properly finalized in our lifetimes? I begin to wonder… which begs the question I suppose, if we’re going to muddle through as best you can “solutions”, what will muddle through look like? My best guess is that, whatever Brexit formally looks like, the U.K. and the Republic will end up with some sort of informal “don’t ask, don’t tell (Brussels)” mini free-trade free-movement area that both governments will deny exists but will be the reality on the ground. And because it’s the Island of Ireland, they might just be able to get away with it, because it is all nice and peripheral and out of the way, and who’ll really notice or sprag to Brussels anyway. Just my hunch, of course. Other (better) hunches might be available.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think you are right the final agreement will be a fudge of course. Certainly, both north and south of Ireland would be happy with a sort of ‘hard border in name, permeable border in practice’ approach. The big problem is London. The Republic is not a member of Schengen because of pressure by London. Essentially, Dublin was given a choice of an open border with NI or joining Schengen, so chose the former. An unwritten part of the Anglo Irish agreement was that the Republic would use pretty much the same immigration/travel criteria as the UK, so that it didn’t become a back-door for illegal entry into Britain. Whatever form of Brexit emerges, that problem won’t go away. So the Republic would be caught between implementing the sort of border controls at airports and seaports the UK wants, while trying to stay within EU laws. That would be a very hard circle to square.

          I suspect that if a crunch came, the Republic would choose Brussels over London. Partly because they would want to appease multinationals based in Ireland over domestic industry and agriculture (the latter of which mostly trades with the UK), but also because I suspect there has been a complete breakdown in relations between the Dublin political establishment and the London establishment (whatever you say about Blair, he kept good personal relationships with international leaders). I don’t see any evidence of the sort of informal dealings that are so often needed to lubricate later formal deals. Irish politicians and civil servants are far more fond of their trips to Brussels than to London.

      2. makedoanmend

        Yep, PlutoK, you’ve covered the basis of real politik. But…

        If Sturgeon wants to talk someone, she’ll won’t ask May’s permission. She may tread lightly but she and the SNP aren’t going quietly into the good night.

        The local dynamic in Scotland is shifting. The Tories are gaining some solid ground with the electorate (old Blairtes supporters of the Labour party defecting to them?). However, I’m hearing more and more people grumbling about “interference” from London on many different issues.

        If the talk about Ireland providing some cover for Scotland has gone silent, it’s because, as you indicated, the Irish govt. and esp. Kenny just don’t know what to do. What’s new?

        From what I’ve read in the French press, they’re playing it coy and quiet for the most part right now. When Rogers quit, most EU negotiators and French govt. officials said the same thing: We await the UK triggering article 50, then we’ll begin the formal negotiations. I’m betting they have their ducks lined up already.

        Ireland is, yet again, between a rock and a hard place. I just don’t see the main European economies allowing the UK to dictate the pace or policies because of Ireland, and Ireland ain’t about to compromise its base for US operations (tax and and otherwise) as a gateway to Europe.

        I’m wondering if Ireland won’t be allowed some latitude with the UK over transit and trade, but I just can’t see the rest of Europe bowing to the UK – especially when there is a fairly vocal and belligerent minority who don’t seem mind pretending that the UK holds all the Aces.

        1. Anonymous2

          I suspect the fundamental problem with Brexit (apart from the fact that a large proportion of the English appear to be living in cloud-cuckoo land) is that the 27 will simply be unable to agree any significant variations on a menu offering the UK the options: Norwegian model and/or Turkish model; WTO terms only. Even with goodwill (which I think unlikely), the 27 will probably be unable to offer anything else in the timescale set out in the Treaty. UK hopes of negotiating a bespoke agreement in a matter of a few months after the German elections look IMO to be wishful thinking. Which probably means that some time in late 2018 the UK will be presented with a final offer along the lines I suggest.

          The interesting uncertainty to my mind is what will be the state of UK public opinion at that point, if we get that far. The tabloids will undoubtedly use any negotiations to stir up anti-European feeling but this may not work if it is becoming clear by then even to the English (I am a Scot) that leaving the EU will cost them serious money. The margin of victory for Leave was narrow and could easily be reversed in another 18 months or so. That may be what the 27 are hoping for – hang tough and look for the UK to lose its nerve. After all, Switzerland seems to have backed down on migration IIUC. So maybe the EU can pull the same trick twice?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            You put your finger on a core issue there – since all 27 (more really, when you account for regional parliaments) have to agree on the issue, it will be much harder for a ‘compromise’ middle of the road softish Brexit. My suspicion is that a soft Brexit could never be agreed with Europe because there will always be a handful of countries that don’t see whatever compromises are made as being in their national interest.

            So the negotiating dynamics, both within the UK and the EU will push towards a hard Brexit. Quite simply a ‘lets cut the cord and start everything from scratch’ agreement might actually be the only one that would be possible for agreement within 2 years. The dynamics are pushing away from pragmatism and towards hard line ideology on all sides.

          2. David

            Indeed. People forget that there actually has to be a (very complex) agreement at the end of all this. The negotiating process to produce that is likely to be so fraught that “nightmare” scarcely covers it. When you are negotiating towards an agreement, then lots of things can get buried, deferred, left deliberately obscure etc. if the will to reach a final text is there. A good example is the Rome Statute negotiations of 1998 that set up the International Criminal Court which were eventually resolved through a Chairman’s package, which gave most of the major players most of what they wanted, and parked some problems for resolution later. But Brexit is entirely different, because it’s destructive rather than constructive, and it’s not even clear that there is a shared view of what a final text would cover, let alone what it would say.

            1. Clive

              It does look, though, like Qualified Majority Voting applies to Article 50, so not everyone has to agree unanimously:

              Article 50

              1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

              2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

              3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

              4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

              A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

              5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

              And, interestingly too, as with most thing EU-related, two years doesn’t necessarily mean two years; there is the inevitable wriggle room.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                That is interesting, I didn’t know that. It potentially makes it a lot easier to negotiate – or to be precise, it means the German/French axis can make the key decisions and drag everyone else with them.

                1. Anonymous2

                  Yes. The point you make is certainly true. I think, however, that QMV will only apply to arrangements for withdrawal (e.g agreeing financial arrangements on pensions etc.). Issues concerning future relationships – the big issues – remain, I think, subject to unanimity.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          If Sturgeon wants to talk someone, she’ll won’t ask May’s permission. She may tread lightly but she and the SNP aren’t going quietly into the good night.

          I don’t follow Scottish politics so much, but it does seem to me that Sturgeon is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. I’ve been very surprised at how low key she has been. Perhaps she fears that London will delay an A.50 until there is a banking or political crisis in Europe, so wants to hedge her bets.

          I’m wondering if Ireland won’t be allowed some latitude with the UK over transit and trade, but I just can’t see the rest of Europe bowing to the UK – especially when there is a fairly vocal and belligerent minority who don’t seem mind pretending that the UK holds all the Aces.

          I don’t think the EU would have any problem with Ireland maintaining its pre-EU agreements with the UK and would be generally sympathetic (the advantage of being a lapdog is that you get lots of treats and pats on the head). The bigger problem I think is with London. I think they will see the Republic as a potential source of illegal immigrants and so try to pressure Ireland not to join Schengen – in other words, tell Dublin ‘you can have an open border with NI, or an open border with the EU at airports and seaports – but not both’. As I outlined above, I suspect Dublin would choose Brussels over an open NI border, even if it proved economically very costly. I don’t honestly think that the Tory party gives a damn about the economy of Northern Ireland or trade with the Republic, so they don’t see it as an issue.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Did you spot the gaping hole in the sanctions imposed on Jon Corzine? He’s barred from CFTC-regulated commodity businesses. But this in no way stops him from trading in SEC-regulated securities markets — that is, stocks and bonds.

    In fact, the WSJ reported in April 2015 that Corzine was proposing to launch a hedge fund. Presumably he could use swaps to proxy for regulated commodity futures, as many hedge funds do anyway.

    Fractured regulation of stocks, bonds and commodities no longer makes sense, if it ever did. Several brokers now offer accounts in which you can seamlessly trade all of these, under the aegis of two different federal regulators. That’s a recipe for another MF Global in the next financial crisis.

    1. Procopius

      I’ll be interested to see if any other major publication picks up the story. I’ve been enraged at the DoJ’s refusal to prosecute under Sarbanes-Oxley. The case seems obvious to me that he falsely certified that his control mechanisms were robust. How Holder could back off saying it was too complicated for a jury to understand just appalls me. This is exactly the kind of thing SarbOx was written for. And, of course, $5 million is pocket change to him. Sure, an annoyance, but not very painful.

  3. allan

    Fun fact: Mike Pence once compared incoming DNI Dan Coats (and Evan Bayh) with the Nazis
    for wanting to keep New Jersey trash (and I don’t mean Jon Corzine) out of Indiana.

    Pence’s article is titled “The Politics of Solid Waste” and includes this secondary headline: “German Jews of the 1930s would know exactly what to call the Coats-Bayh assault on the private property of unpopular individuals engaged in an unpopular enterprise.”

    1. ocop

      Pence really seems like a conservative wet dream. I hope Trump keeps all shields up because a Pence-Ryan governing collaboration would be a nightmare. Talk about “heightening the contradictions”.

      1. TheBellTolling

        Trump’s only shield is his twitter account. Nightmare is reality. Let’s not hide under covers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          When it’s cold like this, one sleeps with blankets over the head, and hopes that tomorrow, at work, one doesn’t find out that one’s job has been outsourced to Mexico.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Post-democracy America: shivering under the covers, no possibility of collective bargaining, no political representation, just you and the boss mano-a-mano.
            “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

      2. Procopius

        During the campaign I thought Pence was picked as a defense against impeachment, because he was so obviously even worse that Trump. Now it looks like I was completely wrong, and the people who were saying the Repub strategy was to let Trump destroy himself, then impeach him and get their real choice in there were right.

    1. Montanamaven

      Thanks. Something similar happened in my little town in Montana. I am now spending time in upstate NY and helping out a young man who is running for the local village council. I will not be attending any “demonstrations”.

      1. JohnL

        Pretty much what I’m doing here in WA. Water system board, citizens advisory boards, stuff like that. Repubs have been doing it for years. Time to step up.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We can say rural American is scary, or we can overcome our fear and work to make it better.

      It doesn’t hurt if we’d scatter all our Old Masters and Impressionist paintings throughout rural America.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Let’s face it. Given local law enforcement agencies are essential municipal armies, relying solely on public demonstrations is already too dangerous, as has been amply demonstrated. With all levels of said law enforcement now engaged in COINTELPRO, and given the level of repressed anger in the 99%, that alone is a recipe for disaster and quick demise of any kind of activism.

      However, what hasn’t gotten sufficient coverage in the corporate media, and likely that’s not an oversight, is that legislatures in deep-red states like Texas are planning to make it legal for anyone to open carry, with no requirement for any kind of training to do so. In other words, given the already lax sales regulations in those states, and given their hatred of any kind of “federal interference,” it isn’t difficult to extrapolate to having “sovereign citizens” gunning down participants of any public demonstration with no legal consequences because they can claim self-defense.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Don’t believe moving in and trying to take over local government is really the best way to go about things either. Reminds me of the push by libertarians a few years ago to move into New Hampshire and turn the state into a free for all libertarian paradise. Haven’t heard much about that since.

      Urban people moving in and trying to teach the local rubes a lesson doesn’t usually turn out so well. Long live Fred Tuttle!

      1. Jen

        Oh, the freeloaders…ahem…free staters are still here. The southern contingent seems intent on combating “fascist” meter maids in Keene. The northern contingent is making a pain in the ass of itself in several local enclaves. I will say it’s kept the locals engaged identifying and corralling them, politically speaking. But we have 400 members in our house of representatives, and I’d be surprised if a few free staters haven’t made it on board.

  4. RenoDino

    All Trump has to do today is agree that Putin engineered his election win in order to make him his puppet for the next four years. National security and order will then be restored. Seems like a no brainer.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s possible that the Russians knew they were under surveillance, and acted as if they were celebrating Trump’s victory.

      Reverse psychology, if you will, or maybe double agents, even.

        1. Procopius

          Just so. It seems perfectly reasonable, given Hillary’s past provocations and work preparing the American public for war with Russia and generally belligerent stances, that they would be happy she did not get elected. The thing that baffles me is that these people are presenting, as proof that the Russians hacked our computers, recordings that we got by hacking their telephone systems? These are the masters of perception management? I grant you that many (most?) Americans are not going to notice the hypocrisy, but some of us… Well, I guess we don’t count anyway.

    2. Ohnoyoucantdothat

      I don’t see the issue here. I live in Crimea and people here were extremely happy to see Hillary lose. Why shouldn’t they be? Hillary and Nuland destroyed Ukraine and forced Putin to annex Crimea. She has few friends in this part of the world. So their joy is to be expected. I’d be surprised if they had reacted any other way. In their mind Russia had just avoided WW3. What a crock of s$*t and an indication of just how desperate they are to discredit Trump.

  5. oho

    typical case study of our times. Financier/faceless management outsources, de-contents and strips a product and its brand equity. Democrats shrug and say “what can you do?” “Invisible hand!”

    Trump doesn’t even take office and the mere threat of action causes another company to have a sudden interest in investing in America.

    Had Obama done the exact same in 2009 instead of kowtow-ing to the banks and throwing single payer under the bus, a Democrat (probably Biden) would be taking office on Jan. 20.

    1. Leigh

      Interesting – I can’t fathom why ANYONE would move a muscle based on the rantings of Trump – the wind may blow out of another direction tomorrow and he will float with it.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Except, politics is tribal. Trump is the new Republican village elder who killed the other elders on the way up, and unlike most elders who are elders for just being around a long time, Trump was selected by the tribe. He’s powerful, but tribal arrangements are not necessarily rationale.

        Look how crazy Dems are over Frau Hillary not having a coronation or pretty much any Obama justification. A Trump tweet can swing quarterly business from John Deere to not John Deere. Can John Deere survive a quarterly collapse of revenues?

        1. Carolinian

          I think you are right. They are scared of the bully pulpit even if they claim they are not. This could account for much of the pre-Trump hysteria.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Look how powerful the bully pulpit is. He’s not even President, and everyone is trembling. Gosh remember when Obama was so darn powerless back in 2009. I blame Facebook and Youtube for not being around. Oh, those were around. It was probably the fault of Russian hackers, UFOs, or dragons.

            1. craazyboy

              haha. But Obama slayed all the dragons. I haven’t seen nor heard of a single dragon for 8 years now. His main problem seems to be a proliferation of Rs tho. Rs have been multiplying like bunny rabbits.

            2. polecat

              I relish seeing corporate entities quivering, as like jelly, waiting to had, by the Big Orange Scoop !

              …. same with regards to Big Intell ……

            3. Frog in a Pot

              Obama is an agent and won his agency through contest with the agent HRC in 2008. Obama, as an agent, follows the instructions of principals. The People had been sidelined and the bully pulpit – used by Reagan and W – unnecessary.

              Trump, a principal, defeated the agent HRC. He acquired executive authority and the bully pulpit – using both with verve. His tweets re the “national security apparatus” reflects both his use of the pulpit and his willingness to disregard shibboleths of the washington consensus. His delegates (cabinet) are largely other principals.

              The Establishment is fighting an invader and seeks to reduce (or eliminate) his authority via delegitimization (Russia) or threat (Schumer/Spooks). Not working so well.

              Are there parallels with JFK/RFK?

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                RFK was a McCarthy acolyte and JFK hunted his fair share of commies when he wasn’t demanding huge military buildups, so the Dems are just going to their golden oldie records for inspiration.

                Oh, you meant Dallas 1963 and back and to the left…

              2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I for one am glad Obama made extremely limited use of the bully pulpit, it might have done more to advance his main policy goals: no single payer health care, no prosecution for bank crime, expanded indiscriminate global pre-crime drone murder, enshrinement and expansion of domestic spying. He accomplished alot of his agenda, I’m just glad he didn’t whip up any more outright support for it

    2. Anne

      Trump doesn’t even take office and the mere threat of action causes another company to have a sudden interest in investing in America.

      Or…they are expecting to be rewarded.

      I will be interested to see exactly how much of the rewards/profit for staying in the US accrue/trickle-down to the average worker; cynic that I have become, I expect that these decisions are being made for one reason, and one reason only: owners/upper-level management now see a way to make more money for themselves.

      Nothing wrong with making money, but if it’s all going to continue to stay at the top, how is this helping workers, other than by allowing them to keep jobs for which they are probably being underpaid.

      1. HotFlash

        I agree that this is not (yet?) cause for optimism, but it may be, just may be, that Trump’s trumpeting will embolden (empower?) the workers who voted for him. Now, a movement like that would be hard to ignore.

    3. Waldenpond

      Well, if you read the Stumbling and Mumbling piece Economists in an Alienated Society…. people just need [helping people to make choices, such as in building well-balanced portfolios] and [at the social level it means helping to build institutions which allow people to bear risk: this can be private insurance]

      So a better portfolio and personal private job insurance, private food insurance, private utility insurance, private rent insurance, private house payment insurance, private bus pass insurance, private doctor insurance, private hospital insurance, private dental insurance, ……

    4. Procopius

      Not Biden. His work promoting the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005, making student loans the equivalent of lifetime debt peonage, and the 1994 Violent Crimes Act should have been enough to stop him, not to mention his son, Hunter, working for Mykola Zlochevsky. I feel a twinge whenever I see some reference to him as “Uncle Joe.”

      1. John Wright

        Biden had a strong hand in getting Clarence Thomas installed on the Supreme Court when he discounted Anita Hill’s testimony (while Biden was head of the Senate Judiciary Committee).

        There is also his support for the Iraq War AUMF.

        Biden is similar to Hillary Clinton, one has a difficult time finding principled stands ever taken and a lot of harm in his wake.

        Biden would not have done well once his record was widely known.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Saboteurs rampant:

    The second-ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, would support an effort to challenge certification of the votes that will formally put Trump in the White House on Friday, he told ABC News. A few House Democrats, led by Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, are weighing options to protest the Electoral College votes.

    Today, Perlmutter released a statement saying the House Democrats’ protest “is not about trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming President,” but “the fact that our liberty, freedom and democracy were compromised by Russia’s intrusion into America’s election.”

    “I think Mr. Perlmutter raises very legitimate issues,” said Hoyer. “It’s based upon the Russian interference in the election….there’s no disagreement in the intelligence community.”

    “Whether it’s done tomorrow or not, we are going to be pressing very, very, hard to get at the bottom of this,” Hoyer said, admitting that Trump will be president even if the challenge succeeds. Updated link:

    WHAT? This sounds every bit as incoherent as Silly Jilly’s vote recount campaign. Dims want to monkey-wrench the US electoral vote certification, not to stop Trump’s inauguration but to cock a snook at the Russians?

    Gahhh … braindead klowns on bath salts.

    1. susan the other

      “Intelligence community” being one of our institutional oxymorons. Pretty clear what’s going on here – Trump is a pacifist. I like him for that reason alone and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they fail to intimidate him into becoming another Gollum. Orlov is right as far as I can tell.

  7. MtnLife

    Death of Expertise is really the Death of Credentialism. The author is all butt hurt that people don’t trust the same “experts” who have either been wrong or have trotted out to validate the elite policies that have crushed our souls. His “expertise” is in public and social policy (aka fluff and BS) and wonders why we don’t treat him like Albert Einstein. Lest we forget tobacco scientists, Exxons climate change scientists, or any corporate science where they forbid or limit outside research (vaccines, pesticides, trade chemicals) to protect profits. Oh, noes! We didn’t pay thousands to jump through your credentialed hoops! He may be all about bashing internet based learning but seems to have forgotten there are colleges who put courses up for free, Google Scholar, SciHub, and striking out those places just means you have to go ask someone on Reddit to grab what you need from behind a paywall. While I might often agree with his statement about not speaking without experience or education, I’ve had people who knew nothing of what I was doing provide some amazing insights because their mind was trained in the traditional way.

    1. skippy

      This trenchant study analyzes the rise and decline in the quality and format of science in America since World War II.

      During the Cold War, the U.S. government amply funded basic research in science and medicine. Starting in the 1980s, however, this support began to decline and for-profit corporations became the largest funders of research. Philip Mirowski argues that a powerful neoliberal ideology promoted a radically different view of knowledge and discovery: the fruits of scientific investigation are not a public good that should be freely available to all, but are commodities that could be monetized.

      Consequently, patent and intellectual property laws were greatly strengthened, universities demanded patents on the discoveries of their faculty, information sharing among researchers was impeded, and the line between universities and corporations began to blur. At the same time, corporations shed their in-house research laboratories, contracting with independent firms both in the States and abroad to supply new products. Among such firms were AT&T and IBM, whose outstanding research laboratories during much of the twentieth century produced Nobel Prize winning work in chemistry and physics, ranging from the transistor to superconductivity.

      “Science-Mart” offers a provocative, learned, and timely critique, of interest to anyone concerned that American science once the envy of the world must be more than just another way to make money.”

      disheveled…. neoliberalism has a very instrumental view of institutions. The efficiency of an institution or its work is only measured through market principles. The intrinsic public good and the benefits that flow from institutions is sidelined, as such, education and health care for example, can’t provide their good or benefits to society because the markets perceptions and metrics are completely opposite e.g. dollar value, market share, market expectations, P&L, et al….. it does not care if its actually delivering the best social benefit to society at large.

      1. Procopius

        The point about the funding of research puzzles me a bit. For at least thirty years I’ve been hearing that private industry has been cutting back on basic research and relying on publicly funded research findings, which they then flesh out just enough to get a patent on. There was one blogger, driftglass?, who was writing a couple of years ago that the Big Pharma companies have been shutting down their research labs and rely on results from National Institutes of Health researchers. Most of them now spend quite a lot more on marketing than on research.

    2. Jeotsu

      I think you make a good point. Too many in the elite/credentialed class have abused the trust given to them. They traded that hard won trust for money.

      As one of those folks who has far too many credentials I see both sides of the argument. On the one hand I (when employed at haaarvahrd) encountered some of the “best of the best” who were skilled at little more than test taking and memorisation (and perhaps playing the politics of employment). But on the other side we do have a world where “I saw it on the web” is a justification for all sorts of bs and mediocre thinking.

      Experts and the specific and relevant observations they can bring to a subject are important, but so is the capacity for critical thinking, self-education, and open mindedness. (All traits well represented at NC, but sadly rare in the general discourse.) unfortunately critical thinking is rarely employed as it is not Taught or valued. worse it is despised and punished in many social settings.

      We’re de-legitimising so many facets of our culture. And we’re doing it to gain short term advantage at the expense of long term stability/functionality. Yay, profit!

    3. Carolinian

      The author is an expert on “social science and public policy” and complains he gets no respect from the vulgar herd. Perhaps the herd thinks his chosen field is not exactly rocket science even if the author/expert does work for Harvard and the Naval War College.

      For sure he’s correct that it’s silly for movie actors to be giving opinion on medicine, but not all “experts” are created equal. One problem is that our so called experts are often specialists in fields that are anything but scientific.

    4. alex morfesis

      As ike said…we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite…

      It must be sad and disheartening to spend a lifetime kissing up to beg for a moment of time and space in some obscure trade journal read by maybe a few thousand people to confirm ones gravitas only to wake up and find the cost of printing a hard copy of a few thousand journals is no longer a barrier to entry into the conversation and seemingly no longer relevant…

      About 100 years ago the radio began to kill the clarinet and looks as though the internet might finally bring ikes hopes from his farewell warnings to america to fruition…just maybe…

    5. subgenius

      As we subgenii have long said….

      “Act like a dumbshit, and they will treat you as an equal”

    6. hunkerdown

      Fluff and BS? Worse — national security and Harvard. He’s an expert in creating and maintaining the fraud of a permanent, virtuous ruling class through crimes against peoples.

      His interests are clear. Crushing our souls is his calling.

  8. IdahoSpud

    I love the timing of Corzine’s slap on the wrist. The penalty was delayed as long as possible after the crime was committed, until just two weeks before Obama will leave office with his “justice” department.

    I guess they didn’t want to leave Corzine’s fate in the hands of Trump’s justice department. (No quotes around “justice” with Trump, because we don’t yet know if it will be a travesty like Obama’s)

  9. RenoDino

    “Old Macs”

    I have an old aluminum 3-pound Mac laptop from 2012. It was the last one with a CD Drive. Apple is still making this same model and selling it at the same original price due to popular demand. When they stop making it all together, the price for a used model will probably exceed the original.

    The next future stranded Apple product will probably be an outdated I-Phone with a head phone jack instead of the new blue tooth buds.

    Maybe this could become their new business model: Abandon popular features and charge more for these expired products down the line.

    It would be like ordering a car from the Seventies that had plenty of ashtrays.

      1. carycat

        The author apparently is working on book(s) about software development. So the content needs to be “reality tested” by running on the target environment and a wimpy machine means productivity lost. That said, a real professional would also test on a wimpy machine if the target audience includes a significant number of folks on wimpy machines (and it is amazing how often this is not done combined with a snotty “let them eat cake” attitude of “why don’t you just upgrade your hardware”)
        Apple is clearly throwing a portion of their fan bois under the bus, the only question is whether it will ultimately bite them in the butt because these are the folks who makes the stuff for the consumers in Apple’s walled garden. But who cares if next quarter’s financials will look better.

    1. Goyo Marquez

      Speaking of which…
      After going through three waffle irons in three years, (The tribe of Marquez loves its waffles.) one of which cost around $150, ordered a waffle iron from 1952 on EBay. Best waffle iron ever, huge waffles, gets really hot, no “non-stick” coating to foul it up, aluminum plates remove for cleaning. Two years later still going strong. Cost $35.

      1. polecat

        I bought one of those at a garage sale a couple of years ago, for $5.00 …. works like a charm !

        Here’s to ‘pre-crapification’ !!

      2. Carl

        Our fridge is from the 40s and our gas stove is from 1952 (came with a 25 year warranty). Both are superior to current products.

        1. MLS

          This is impossible to believe unless you’ve retro-fitted both appliances for WiFi and Twitter access!


        2. Anon

          I’ll agree that older appliances are quite sturdy. But that 40’s fridge is energy inefficient and the gas stove is likely made of some heavy metal that would make it very expensive to manufacture today.

          One of the reasons why modern automobiles are “stylistic” is that the thin metal exterior requires creases and “molding” to give it strength through shape; and, of course, make the vehicle lighter and enable compliance with modern efficiency regulations (EPA).

          That is not to say that modern appliances (and vehicles) should at least be repairable.

          1. Carl

            You may believe that 40s and 50s fridges are inefficient, but they are not. The inefficiency came in with the 60s and lasted until sometime around the mid-70s, when the government started coming out with energy standards for appliances. What those old appliances are, though, is well-insulated. The simplicity of the older gas stoves means that they will last practically forever. The fact that they are no longer valued by people means that you can pick up a good one for very little money.

            1. Procopius

              The reason the AK-47 is the weapon of choice in most of the world is that it was designed to be easy to maintain and repair. the M-16 and M-4 are nice because they’re light and you can more easily carry a lot of ammo. Insurgents with AK-47s typically don’t have a lot of ammo, so that’s not a consideration. There has been a tendency since WWII for Americans to make things more complex (“cooler”) and less repairable. I have read that the F-35 can only fly two hours a week because it requires so much maintenance and adjusting.

      3. Waldenpond

        I avoid the new stuff. I won’t buy another hand mixer. I have found a good toaster and a stove top percolator. I would like a source for replacement baskets though.

        1. grayslady

          I have a GE Solid State hand mixer that is at least 60 years old. Inherited it from my mother. Still works perfectly. (To be fair, my mother didn’t know how to cook, so it never received a lot of use during her ownership of the mixer.)

  10. craazyboy

    As The World Shrinks:

    The Russia is everywhere Soap just had an interesting plot twist uncovered by Washington’s Blog. This is all at ZH this AM, but I’ll dupe it here w/o the ZH link since Skynet seems happier that way.

    Firstly, the DNC refused server access to the FBI back when the supposed hack occurred and referred them to CloudStrike, the “private” security company employed by the DNC. The FBI then gave their recent assessment(as independent and expert) based solely on the CrowdStrike assessment! This just came out as news yesterday!

    Washington’s Blog then digs into ties CrowdStrike has. All paths lead to the MIC, Neocons and, gasp, the Ukraine! Guess which side? Just kidding.

    1. skippy

      Thought you might like this….



      For the recent abnormal operation of Bitcoin trading platform, on January 6 the People’s Bank of China Business Management Department, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Financial Affairs jointly met with the relevant regulatory authorities of the “currency network”, “currency” and other major currency trading platform responsible person, Understand the operation of the platform, suggesting that the possible legal risks, policy risks and technical risks, requiring their business conduct must be in compliance with relevant laws and regulations and strictly carry out self-examination and related rectification.

      According to the Notice on Prevention of Bit-currency Risks issued by the People’s Bank of China, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China Banking Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission and China Insurance Regulatory Commission in December 2013 (Yinfa [2013] 289), Bitcoin is a specific virtual goods, does not have the same legal status with the currency, can not and should not be used as money in the market circulation. Participating institutions and individuals should carefully engage in activities such as Bitcoin investment and bear the corresponding responsibilities and risks. – H/T OJ

      disheveled…. like YS has been a pains to point out…..

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not quite.

          They call Bitcoins ‘郁金香球茎.’

          “When in China, write as Chinese do.”

    2. skippy

      Incoming PBofC bitcoin update when it passes….

      disheveled… I feel a tremor in the force….

    1. Pajarito

      Yup, Congress Ave Bridge Austin TX, didn’t know they renamed it. Years ago I used to net bats emerging there and determine sex (immediately released). Dispelled the belief it was a male colony of Mexican Free-tailed bats. Mostly female colony and they have young that are left in the bridge while adults forage.

  11. Jim Haygood

    On the radar in the new Congress:

    Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) on Tuesday introduced a bill that would require states to recognize each other’s gun carry permits.

    The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 would address the patchwork nature of the country’s gun carry laws. Currently, each state decides which other states’ gun carry permits it will recognize. Some states recognize all other states’ permits, other states recognize no other states’ permits, and many fall somewhere in between.

    Gun rights advocates have long decried the web of local laws as confusing and unfair–one in which a wrong turn or missed exit could end in an otherwise law abiding gun owner unintentionally committing a felony.

    This is not a theoretical problem, as the notorious case of Shaneen Allen illustrates:

    NJ Gov. Christie on Thursday pardoned a Philadelphia woman who had faced up to five years in prison for bringing into the state a gun that was legally registered in Pennsylvania but not in New Jersey.

    Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution, the “full faith and credit clause,” says that states must respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.”

    States do respect other states’ marriages, drivers licenses, auto registrations, and the like. But gun permits are an incoherent patchwork. You literally have to be an attorney to know the intricacies of traveling interstate with a licensed gun. Even so you could end up like Shaneen Allen in antigunner states like NJ and NY, which have an ideological burr up their ass.

    Hudson’s bill stands a good chance of becoming law this year.

    1. Katharine

      Oddly, I seem to recall a story from (Virginia? maybe not) that showed some states are also snippy about handicapped plates/hang tags. I wondered at the time how they could justify it: you might as well refuse to recognize the registration of the car altogether.

      (This was a good number of years ago, and I”m not sure how it was resolved. With luck it’s no longer an issue, but it surprised me then.)

  12. Fox Blew

    Regarding “The Death of Expertise”. Unfortunately I was not able to comment directly to the author Tom Nichols. I would have answered him with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “The well being of society depends not on the state of science, no matter how exalted it may be in a select band of enlightened men, but on the condition of the general mind.”

    I would then ask him to give me his “expert” opinion on why our society should even have an area of human knowledge called “social science and public policy?” The last time I checked the practices of common sense and ethics is more than sufficient to satisfy our needs in any meaningful way.

    To compare his expertise with that of a real-world doctor, lawyer, or shoemaker is a bit much, no?

    1. Carolinian

      What you said (catching up on my downthread). The Jay Rosen link from yesterday’s Cooler also put forward the theory that the public r dumb and need educating. While it’s true most people probably couldn’t find Ukraine (or South Carolina) on a map, common sense is highly underrated. Some “experts” claim it doesn’t even exist.

    1. Mossack Fonseka

      I just revisited the comments section. Is it possible they are being heavily moderated to remove critical views? The parent comment was well articulated and heavily critical of the editorial stance. It has been removed in the last hour.

      1. fresno dan

        Mossack Fonseka
        January 6, 2017 at 9:32 am

        “Is it possible they are being heavily moderated to remove critical views? ”

        I noticed a while back that BI removed comments. That was a wild and wooly bunch and I imagine the authors got tired of the legitimacy of their birth’s being questioned.
        But I think as the MSM loses influence, prestige, respect, revenue, and trust, comments that only hasten how biased, wrong, and uninformed they are will necessitate that these MSM outlets remove comments in a rearguard action to try and salvage their dwindling relevance. Its not just that they are wrong, it is that they are PURPOSEFULLY wrong to advance a point of view. Obvious questions are not asked because it would screw up the NARRATIVE.
        As I have said before, I don’t know if you can really determine who hacked something. Here on NC I see plenty of article that cast doubt on that proposition. In the MSM, I see nothing but stenography from the CIA, which as I just can’t get over, is a bunch THAT HAS BEEN PROVEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN TO LIE. Again, a purposeful memory hole….

        Its been apparent to me for sometime now that just as celebrities only give interviews to the “press” that will perform like a publicist to the star, our politicians are going that way to, with FOX the house organ for repubs, and MSM for dems.

        It leads to just constant incongruities, e.g., the very same people who scream that Trump should always treat the intelligent agencies with “respect” were the very same people accusing Comey of being a biased guy who threw a US election for partisan purposes. OH well, if you only use big and fancy enough words, I guess its OK….
        All I am asking for is honor and principles – if Comey can be questioned, so can the CIA. If the CIA can’t be questioned, neither can Comey….and that the press recognize the inconsistency in BOTH groups and point it out.

        1. cnchal

          It leads to just constant incongruities, e.g., the very same people who scream that Trump should always treat the intelligent agencies with “respect” were the very same people accusing Comey of being a biased guy who threw a US election for partisan purposes. . .

          The contradictions are so open now, the peasants are noticing the nakedness of the MSM.

          I caught a quick segment on ABC, and I think her name was Robin Gibberish, was all agog about Russian hacking and Donald’s dissing the “intelligence” agencies and how they were going to have a face to face meeting with each other. The grand fatuous flatulence of all involved on the set just made me laugh.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I can imagine a meter with a needle that shows the percentage of people who believe anything at all the MSM says any more, by my reckoning it’s at about a 60% “Believe” rating but dropping like a stone. Pravda probably bottomed in the 10-15% range.

            1. Procopius

              Yeah, but the Russians had an advantage. Everybody knew Pravda and Izvestia were BS because all government controlled publications in the Russia of the Tsars had been BS for centuries. They had ways to read between the lines or else sheer necessity forced the papers to report enough real news for the people to operate. In the case of the NYT and WaPo, there have been times when we could (mostly) rely on them as realistic sources. That hasn’t been true for at least fifteen years, but it’s hard to pinpoint when they became so unreliable and lots of people still haven’t noticed.

  13. Pajarito

    Powell Tribune site: Bored teen, horses goat…McDonalds. Triggers Norton dangerous website alert for me.

  14. B1whois

    In the links heading “China?” why is “China” followed by a “?” I’ve been curious about this for a few weeks.

    1. Yves Smith


      1. All stats out of China are fake save stuff they can’t fake like FX prices, so anything re the economy is guesswork

      2. No one knows “Whither China?” People who do real spadework in China have been calling for a big bust for some time. It is probably inevitable (no export/investment led economy has ever made the transition to being consumption led without having a huge financial crisis). And the longer it takes, the bigger the train wreck will be.

  15. Bunk McNulty

    Capitulation: I had a thought about replacing my 2011 MacBook Pro (the kind that came in an aluminum case). I looked at the new ones, and decided instead to have a new screen installed for $150. Then the processor on my 2010 iMac died, and the nice people at the local Genius Bar said it was a “vintage” machine and Apple no longer stocked the part. But maybe an Apple Authorized Reseller would have a used processor for me. For around $500. So I ended up buying a new bottom-of-the-line iMac for a little over a grand. And walked away muttering that I didn’t see Honda telling me I couldn’t get a part for a 2010 Accord because it was “vintage.” Arrrrghh…

    1. temporal

      On almost any day a person can get a 2009 or 2010 Mac Pro upgraded to 12 cores from eBay for a bit more than a grand. iMacs, on the other hand, have been really hard to fix for a long time. Even back in 2008 the video card was soldered to the motherboard. Check DuckDuck for a long history of iMac death by overheated video card. In the past, I helped a few folks move data off a blind iMac and gave my own up for the same reason. A 2009 MP upgraded to pretend it’s a 2010 is a fairly easy project though buying one pre-converted is a lot safer.

      No doubt the 2010-2012 will be EOLed by Apple (as they recently did to the 2009 MP), in spite of their performance and functionality, in a few years but they’ll be around after most of the 2013 nMP have their own problems with soldered on video cards generate their own internet history. The downside is the repairable, older Mac Pros are heavy suckers and lack the speedy Thunderbolt bus.

      Apple has firmly entered the designed obsolescence profit model in no small part because Intel has nothing, except reduced power usage, to offer in comparison to CPUs that were expensive 8 years ago and are now cheap. Still, some the newest MacBook Pros, with their relatively high current sales volumes, seem to be obsoleting a bit earlier than probably was intended, or so claims Consumer Reports.

      As for why a writer (as per the links at the top) needs a 2013 Mac Pro to write a book I admit to being clueless. Speedier spell checking?

      1. Carolinian

        Why do Apple people put up with this? A computer is an appliance, like a toaster. We’re not still in the old days when the only alternative was wintel.

        1. Anon

          I think it’s a “time” matter and sunk costs (familiarity). I’m a PC user that is readily flustered when using the Apple computers at the local library. I’m no fan of Windows, either, but getting familiar with Linux (and new applications) is going to be a challenge (I will likely take in the next year or so).

          1. HotFlash

            You will never regret it. Not only is Linux pretty easy to use (I’m on Mint 18 now) but with WINE I got back a whole bunch of dear old Windows programs that Windows “upgrades” had killed for me. I am now running my cherished Ample Notice (from 1999) and Addraman (from 2000). And I got my files back!

          2. Procopius

            I find Ubuntu very friendly for Windows users, but then I started on TRS Model III with LDOS, which was a lot like the Bourne Shell. Still, you hardly ever need to use the terminal, but I love having it and all the old familiar text-based tools available.

      2. Mark Waterman

        Yeah, ordinarily a writer wouldn’t need such an overpowered machine–a cheap Mac Mini would do the trick. But Chris Adamson writes books about programming, so it’s safe to assume he’s doing some software development.

        So he has a legitimate gripe along with professional design/development users. Microsoft certainly sees the opportunity here in the creative space, thus the interesting (and breathtakingly expensive) Surface Studio. Good to see someone taking initiative to deliver something new and exciting in the absence of any compelling Intel innovation.

    2. Mike Mc

      Fix Macs for a living and have for nearly 20 years. Missing St. Steve Jobs a little more each day.

      New MacBook Pros may have jumped the shark finally. Fun factoid: entire Mac line (Minis, iMacs, all Mac notebooks) makes up roughly 10.9 percent of total Apple revenues.

      You have a five year window with your new Mac – after that it’s Vintage (some parts available), after seven it’s Obsolete. Hackintoshes – Intel boxes with Mac’s OS X kludged onto drive – and Linux give you some options, but your real Apple computer is your iPhone and/or iPad, has been for a field. (Just hoping Macintoshes last to retirement date in 2020!)

  16. AvaB

    Wow that $1 federal pay rule is INSANE and one of the foundations of a dictatorship. All these “reasonable” Trump supporters keep being revealed for the hypercapitalist, deregulated con artists they always were. Incredible!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Those [Trump] plans include an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, less generous pensions and a ban on union business on the government’s dime.

      How INSANE!!!!!

      Also, too, how fascist, hitler-esque, misogynistic, xenophobic, jingoistic, Russkie-loving, “intelligence”-denying, non-presidential, big-haired and small-handed of him.


      Doesn’t he know that removing even one of the hard-working, poor-performing, overpaid 2.1 million federal workers with their unbelievably generous benefits and pensions unavailable to us “ordinary” americans for any reason is an existential threat to the nation and our very democracy?

      But I will agree with you on one point. Something about the reaction of some in this nation to Trump’s election is very definitely INSANE.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s simple. They put their eggs in the Hillary basket and lost to Trump.

        How do the Democrats put together a coalition in 2020 with the likes of Tim Kaine after metaphorically blowing their load with Hillary who pushed nostalgia, Trump is a nazi claims, possessed more money than God, and possessed a celebrity no other candidate has? What they saw was declines among every demographic. The GOP is dying, but Team Blue is trying to catch up.

        If Hillary can’t appeal to Republicans (Dims want Republican approval), how can Cuomo? After the primaries, how do Hillary supporters rebuild the party? They are starting from zero, and the money won’t come in anymore either. The Democrats are a dying party for a generation or will have a major purge.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Speaking of tim kaine, he is on the senate committee that heard clapper’s testimony yesterday. Watching him seek clapper’s confirmation that it was Putin’s fault and not his own that he and the queen lost the election was as nauseating as it gets.

          I really thought that he couldn’t play the sniveling weasel any better than he did during the election.

          I was so, so wrong.

      2. ambrit

        If I look at it from the point of view of a program to delegitimize and neuter Trump even before he enters office, it looks SANE to me. Indeed, when seen from the perspective of a DNC acolyte, such questioning of received wisdom is PROSAYNE. (Even better would be someone who throws the moneylenders out of the Temple, er, Congress.)

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Nader, Iraq/9/11, gop money, tough environment, gerrymandering, waiting for Hillary, Russians.

          2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2012 (failure to pick up seats), 2014, and 2016. Deflect and blame nebulous enemy that can’t be nailed down and isnt responsible and then demand more money and praise. The Clintonistas (if not Bill and Hill, but definitely their lackeys) should have been banished after 2000.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I know there is criticism of Stein over the recounts, but if she didn’t go full in, Stein would be public enemy number one right now.

      3. Vatch

        I strongly suspect if the Holman rule is used to reduce the salary of any federal employees to $1, it won’t be used against “poor performers”. One group it might be used against is employees in the Energy Department and in the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who have done research on global climate change. Remember when Trump was demanding the names of employees who worked in that area?

        It keeps happening: no matter how bad the establishment Democrats are, the Republicans always find ways to be worse.

      4. TheBellTolling

        Those [Trump] plans include an end to automatic raises, a green light to fire poor performers, less generous pensions and a ban on union business on the government’s dime.

        Ah yes, downward pressure on wages. Great stuff…. *eye roll*

      5. Anne

        Curious how you incorporate the revival of the Holman rule with concurrent efforts on behalf of the Trump transition team to identify those working in the government on climate science and gender issues, because it looks to me like efforts are underway not so much to purge on the basis of poor performance, but on the basis of ideology. It’s almost as if there is a belief that because we have a Democratic president, that government workers must also be Democrats.

        And for what it’s worth, this graphic may be useful in comparing the public v. private sector pay/compensation issues.

        Please understand I am not saying people who can’t or won’t do their jobs should get to keep those jobs; what I am saying is that I don’t think the government is going to run better if personnel decisions are made on the basis of political and ideological beliefs; there’s a bit of a McCarthy-ite flavor there that makes me queasy.

        Finally, I would be just as disturbed/alarmed if a Democratic majority was doing this – for me it’s not about WHO is doing it, but about WHAT is being done.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          what I am saying is that I don’t think the government is going to run better if personnel decisions are made on the basis of political and ideological beliefs;

          It is so – based on political beliefs – at the top: the various secretaries, agency heads, and many ambassadors.

          Except the military, whose chiefs are non-political; but the military is not necessarily better run. How else could the MIC thrive all these years?

        2. Procopius

          I always considered it a huge mistake that Obama did not make a greater effort to remove Bush appointees from the Justice Department, but for some reason he didn’t “purge” the non-civil-service positions.

  17. cojo

    Interesting article on the visions for introduction of driver-less cars. One question I do not see being addressed is will there ever be a time where driver less cars will be illegal, or will they just no longer be sold in the future…

        1. ambrit

          crazyboy’s comment is applicable to both robotic and wet wired autos.
          One discused version of that would be the presently science fiction idea of centrally computer controlled control of all autos within, say, a megaplex. You give your destination to the AI control computer and automation does the rest. No one would ever think of keeping tabs on where anyone goes, or who they could be seeing. That would be Conspiracy Theory craazytalk. Heaven forfend the Panopticon.

          1. cojo

            Good point it appears they will likely be allowed to just wither away into extinction without replenishment, assuming the consumer buys into the product…

              1. polecat

                I would much rather prefer a wide-spread, improved, national passenger-rail service build-out … then this geeky, dystopian, hyper-tech, wet-dream fantasy !

                1. fresno dan

                  January 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm

                  I love trains – in Europe fast, convenient, you get to see the countryside, they LEAVE on time, no getting to the Train station 3 hours in advance. Deliver you right downtown, where you can get on a little trains called a tram and get anywhere in the city.
                  But if you can’t IPO it in a hypertube, it will never be built.

                  1. polecat

                    Yeah freson dan, … if the ‘geekoise’ & certain ‘oligarchs’ didn’t have their frackin hands in everyone’s pie, and if CONgress had any foresight, instead of their fingers up their a$$es … we could have a decent, and relatively affordable rail build-out, with current technology ….. not Elon’s hyper fantasy … and certainly not the Califoria legistlature’s ‘wish list of a bullet train system !! Producing multitudes of autos, whether they be autonomous, or not, is not the answer to this country’s transportation needs … not ‘wants’, as in the Madison Ave./Berneysian sense, but ‘needs’, as in moving the public, as cheaply, and as efficiently as possible, without loss of comfort and safety. But that is not what we’ll get … we’ll get ever greater chaos and dis-function instead !

          1. ambrit

            Get an old Husqvarna Enduro and have at it. Program your drone to shoot down other drones and you’ll have it made. Do you all have any Thunderdomes there in the desert country? I’d stay away from those.

            1. craazyboy

              We have a geodome. Last I checked it wasn’t militarized, but that won’t last. McCain’s wife probably owns it.

    1. alex morfesis

      Driver less cars is vaporware at best or a desperate attempt to juice up the stock valuation by trying to get a pe ratio or price to revenue ratio of tech companies…outside of the tourism bubble of the lower half of manhattan, potholes in new york are large enough to lower a canoe into and the existing infrastructure is a joke with 100 year old utility systems falling apart everyday…not sure what virtual world these snowflakes in san jose live in but driverless cars will never happen…

      But maybe I am wrong..houdini in his first star movie in 1919 fought the robot “automaton”…and since we all have robots at home to help us with housework…

      these are the great-grandchildren of the forward thinking folks at the 1939 worlds fair who promised that flying cars were just around the corner…

      problem was they were looking at a circle…

    2. Procopius

      Haven’t read that article, but saw one where governors think they need to get billions from the federal government so they can “wire” their roads so they will be usable by “driverless” cars. WTF? They won’t/can’t repair potholes, but they’ll spend billions so Uber can have higher profits?

  18. allan

    New pro-Trump political group readies for launch [Politico]

    The new political group being launched to boost President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda is finally taking shape after weeks of sometimes contentious discussions.

    According to people familiar with the plans, Trump’s former digital director Brad Parscale is expected to be named as president of the group and Nick Ayers, one of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s top political advisers, is likely to join in an as-yet unnamed senior role. …

    But day-to-day operational control of the group, which will be organized as a 501(c)4 nonprofit, is expected to lie with Parscale, who was given authority to take charge by Jared Kushner, Trump’s influential son-in-law. Inside Trump’s orbit, there has been a tug-of-war for weeks over who would control this outside entity — and with it the potential to tap into millions of dollars from both small and large donors. …

    To pressure the GOP on the Hill.
    Compare and contrast with the gutting of OFA in 2009.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      And the DNC. Obama’s campaign op assumed authority over an existing operation and dismantled that too.

      Don’t worry OFA was recruiting phone bankers to help Obama’s agenda by calling people in other states during the governor’s race in 2009.

      Kaine was DNC chair at the time, worse than DWS.

  19. LT

    Re: old Mac Pro computers…

    Funny, a few days ago I was talking to a friend about what I call the “kiddie” computers.
    It’s not just apple. Look at Windows 10. I don’t dare disrupt my workstation set up designed for music production with something so obviously designed to appeal to pre-schoolers.
    I think that has been the focus of computer and software companies: getting kiddies on the computer, at the disservice of professionals (graphic designers, editors, etc).

    1. Dr. Roberts

      Absolutely true. I’ve done a lot of work helping ‘ordinary’ computer users over the years and I’ve noticed a decline in computer skills in the general public. Many who felt challenged by computers have adopted to the touch-screen for everything paradigm and have no clue how to operate in the old lower-level interface paradigms. Many even are starting to have trouble with keyboards and mice.

    2. oho

      ‘It’s not just apple. Look at Windows 10.’

      At laptop level, I’m resigned to keeping Windows 7 for a long, long time and just buy new hard drives/SSDs when the need arises.

      Have been trawling Ebay to create a small stash of used laptops–for me ones w/non-chiclet keyboards and 16:9 ratio displays.

  20. LT

    Re: Beyond Trump, #Resistance….

    The Democratic Party wants to return to the 1950s.
    The Republican Party wants to return to the 1850s.

    Listen to the most revered leftist intellectuals and they find it hard to imagine anything greater than a return to the heyday of the half-assed New Deal.

    1. ambrit

      Sorry Charlie, but some “real” semi Leftists want the implementation of a whole-a—d New Deal. Your “real” Leftist ‘intellectuals’ are still arguing whether to worship at the shrine of Saint Lenin or Saint Trotsky.
      The Neo-Liberal Party wants to return to the 1750s.
      I hope you’re ready for Neo Clientalism.

    2. hunkerdown

      American Exceptionalism is a religion of performance and of faith. Reenacting the past because we’ve always done it “is” what Americans do. But only the rulers are allowed a megaphone and only they get to decide whose interests get reenacted.

      Also, lumping leftists in with a right-wing ideology like liberalism is patently offensive, something an abusive ex-boyfriend would do. As these are the dynamics presently in play within the Party, and indeed, what liberals have “always done” in response over a retrospective horizon of a few decades, that’s not surprising, but that also doesn’t make it acceptable.

  21. Rajesh

    The return on capital employed for Chinese, Korean smartphone hardware manufacturers (LEeco, Samsung, Xaoumi, Lenovo) is abysmally low and Apple manages to rake in 95% of overall industry profits…even if one assumes declining sales and even margins…the stock doesn’t seem all that richly priced. I guess that would depend on the extent to which sales and margins decline

  22. RabidGandhi

    When Le Président does it, that means it’s not illegal:

    François Hollande has personally authorised ‘at least 40’ targeted killings abroad, says new book [Le Torygraph]

    [I]n his book Fatal Errors, investigative journalist Vincent Nouzille alleges that the French president gave the nod to liquidating “at least 40” such HVTs [“high value targets”] between 2013 and 2016 – “either by the army, by the DGSE [French General Directorate for External Security] or more indirectly by allied countries on the basis of intelligence provided by France”.

    With at least one operation per month, the book claims this is the highest kill rate since the 1950s during the war in Algeria. In this, Mr Hollande is described as far more hawkish than his predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac.

    The legal basis for such strikes cited is generally “legitimate common self-defence” but in countries that have not asked for foreign assistance, such as Syria, the legality is far more tendentious.

    Rule of Law in the XXIst Century: Due process means “a process you do”, and habeas corpus means habeas corpse.

    1. fresno dan

      January 6, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Haven’t seen you in a while – good to see you back!

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes Rabid welcome back…it’s a small brotherhood that thinks the rights agreed by the Magna Carta are kinda relevant and important today. We lost them but the effect has yet to sink in fully, best at least to try and point it out

  23. Katharine

    Regarding alleged CIA reasoning:

    The ebullient reaction among high-ranking Russian officials — including some who U.S. officials believe had knowledge of the country’s cyber campaign to interfere in the U.S. election — contributed to the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Moscow’s efforts were aimed at least in part at helping Trump win the White House.

    This seems to imply that taking interest in someone else’s elections and caring about the outcome is evidence of interfering in them. What they offer in place of evidence is their “belief” of involvement in an alleged cyber campaign for which, so far as I am aware, they have yet to offer substantive evidence. Having chosen that belief, they then treat ebullience as confirmation.

    All I can say is, I haven’t chosen that belief and require facts and sound arguments before I shall.

    1. Praedor

      US officials cheer foreign election results all the time…particularly those engineered by CIA operations. Of COURSE Russians would cheer Trump. HE wasn’t running around trying to start a war with Russia at every opportunity. Hillary wanted war with Russia over S. Ossetia, Ukraine (AFTER a CIA-coup there), over Syria!

      1. Montanamaven

        Yeh, I said “Duh!” As I recall Vicky Nuland was out in the Kiev square giving out cookies as the extreme right wingers instigated a coup that had pro Russia president Yanukovich, flee the country. Betcha there was champagne corks popping then on that little interference with their upcoming election. Also probably some celebrating by high ranking US officials when “We came, We saw, He died” Ha! Ha! Ha! in Libya happened. When the Russians “interfere”(if it was them) , they make people look sloppy and mediocre. When we interfere, blood flows.
        Fingers crossed this saber rattling Kill the Russkies screeching gets muffled somehow.

    2. RUKidding

      You echo some of my thoughts. Why shouldn’t the Russians cheer for Trump’s election? After all, Clinton spent most of her time of the stump vowing to go after the Russians in spades. Why would they want her to win? Shorter A: they wouldn’t.

      I suspect the Russians, like most around the planet, see Trump as a relatively unknown quantitiy, but his lack of aggressive anomosity to Russia, itself, would be a relief.

      It really annoys me how devious propaganda is. What a load of hogwash.

      I’m a Trump agnostic. Let’s see what happens before casting aspersions or making judgement calls.

      1. craazyboy

        The CIA is trying to influence foreign cheering. Shame on them. It’s surprising Russia doesn’t declare war on us for that.

    3. fresno dan

      January 6, 2017 at 10:26 am

      Sooooo….using CIA logic, AMERICAN voters who voted for Trump (what the heck, let’s add ANYBODY who didn’t vote for that Patriotic, Essential nation Hillary) is a dirty Russian commie based on ….cheering. – – or to use Washtington speak, EBULLIENCE.

      I believe Trump supporters put kitten and puppies in blenders because…..they’re deplorable!
      And they read propaganda sites….because they’re deplorable!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We should be grateful the CIA is not interfering in American politics, via agents in the MSM.

        “No evidence whatsoever. You take back the charge and apologize.”

    4. Ohnoyoucantdothat

      I guess that makes me and my wife part of the plot. When I told her Trump won she almost fell out of bed she was laughing so hard. It was like new years in November in this part of the world (Crimea). Of course the Russian elite were celebrating … they just dodged a huge bullet. Hillary had her fat, arthritic hands firmly wrapped around those nukes while her sidekick Nuland was pounding in the launch codes as fast as the computer could take them. If the CIA really believes this crap then they truly are morons.

      I see this plot as not just a warning to Trump but to all of us who voted against their ‘man’. Trump is getting a warning and a threat … don’t stray too far from the accepted ‘truth’ or you will pay. We’re getting a warning too … vote against our vetted and owned candidates and you might get a Russian mole or worse. They are training us to never do that again. I’m pretty sure they want to push Trump to the curb so Pence, one of their boys, can move into the job. Given this reality, Trump’s cabinet and staff choices look a whole lot better. He’s avoiding insiders who would most likely work against him and bringing in strong willed outsiders who won’t necessarily cave to the pressure that the hive mind in Washington brings to bear. It’s going to be an interesting year.

  24. Hana M

    Useful review of presidential authority on trade and tariffs:

    The real issue, however, is that Trump won’t need new legislation. Both chambers — who under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution are the default crafters of foreign commercial policy — have already delegated substantial trade powers to his predecessors. Indeed, dating back at least 14 decades, Congress has given the president virtually unlimited discretion to act to address emergencies and preserve national security.

    While this language calls to mind military round-ups and detentions, successive U.S. presidents have leaned heavily on this authority as an economic and trade tool. During the U.S. Civil War, Abraham Lincoln used it to impose a four-cent levy on each pound of Southern cotton to fund the war effort. Franklin Roosevelt expanded these rules to pertain not only to times of war, but also national economic emergency. Within days of being sworn in, he unilaterally used the newly fashioned rules to close ailing banks, heeding the calls of Depression-wracked manufacturing states like Michigan. (Congress gave its blessing a few days later with the Emergency Banking Act.) And Richard Nixon used the authority to — among other things — impose a 10 percent surcharge on imports, broker a deal to restrain steel imports and license oil imports.

  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Gloria Steinem, who worked with the CIA in the 1950s and ’60s, ‘was happy to find some liberals in government in those days,’ arguing that the agency was “nonviolent and honorable.’” Yes, that Gloria Steinem. Admirably consistent.

    Was I misinformed about the life-time iron rice bowl life time employment opportunity at the company?

    Once you worked for us, you will always work for us?

    How many American workers would feel more secure (as in job security) with that kind of arrangement?

      1. craazyboy

        They have an employee retirement center called “The Village”. See Patrick McGoohan’s “The Prisoner”.

        1. ambrit

          I’ve got that series on DVD. The American “Village” is somewhere in Southeastern Cuba. (Others say that it is somewhere near Tampa.) The inside dope is that DARPA is working to develop a “blob” security droid from the Gulf Horizon oil spill oil plume still hovering about deep in the Gulf of Mexico. The American ‘bubble’ will be, appropriately, black in colour. Not only is resistance futile, it’s sticky too!

        2. fresno dan

          January 6, 2017 at 11:09 am

          I would like the trampoline room….I understand Bill Gates has one.
          And…Homer Simpson, undoubtedly a deplorable, is SMARTER than Patrick McGoohan
          REALLY! Yup, smarter than one of the those secret agents!
          If you don’t want to watch the whole clip, just go to 1:18 (BUT watch the whole clip!!!

    1. RUKidding

      Ah yes, JFK pines for the days in the ’50s and ’60s when the CIA was nonviolent and honorable.

      Oh wait…

      As do the Laotians. Such a lovely non-violent time for Laos – courtesy of the CIA – particularly in the ’50s, the ’60s and even the ’70s.

      And so on…

  26. RabidGandhi

    Argentina Eliminates Few Remaining Capital Controls [Reuters] (what could go wrong?)

    Argentina’s government ended a required holding period for foreign capital… in order to attract investment with the country mired in recession.

    Previously, investors had to wait 120 days to repatriate funds they had moved into Latin America’s No. 3 economy. The finance ministry said in a statement it had eliminated “the last barrier to entry of foreign capital.”

    Macri’s administration has implemented several reforms to reintegrate Argentina back into the global economy. They include removing capital controls, relaxing reserve and deposit requirements, and ending a debt dispute with hold-out creditors.

    Well that does sound painful, but if we open the door to international capital speculators and cut real wages by 15% that will surely improve the economy, right?

    Despite the changes, a wave of investment promised by Macri has been slow to arrive, with Argentina’s economy failing to grow [it grew 2.6% in 2015] and inflation expected to have ended 2016 at around 40 percent [over double the annual inflation Macri inherited].

    Oh so things aren’t getting better? What should we do, Mr Reuters? Increase real wages? Boost infrastructure spending to fight unemployment? Nah, why bother with those when there’s more deregulation to do:

    Some restrictions that investors want lifted, particularly a capital gains tax on equity trading, need congressional approval and are not expected to end in early 2017.

    The only answer to neoliberalism not working is more neoliberalism.

  27. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Yes Folks, Trade Really Did Cost Manufacturing Jobs CEPR

    At the risk of revealing my embarrassingly low level of economic sophistication and “expertise,” I’d like to suggest a simple experiment to settle this question once and for all.

    If an “american” company closes a plant in the united states, opens one in mexico and there are people working there, the conclusion should be that jobs were exported to a lower wage country.

    If there are robots working in the new plant, the conclusion should be that jobs were lost to “automation.” (The difference in the hourly wage between mexican robots and american robots is a separate question.)

    That this issue continues to be relentlessly debated, strikes me as an attempt to introduce needless “complexity” into an issue that could be pretty easily settled.

    What am I missing? I’m sure I’m missing something, because this a. m. on morning joe, a bloomberg economic journalist and “expert” opined that the issue of american manufacturing is “nuanced.” And I don’t get what’s so “nuanced” about it.

    1. Pat

      You aren’t missing anything. Read the comments, there you find the other way the “trade” defense team is working to confuse matters is to point out that jobs weren’t lost. There is lots of smoke around them, but essentially the movement of jobs would happen with or without the agreement. so it doesn’t count. IOW, you lost your job to automation, the fact that your company could now freely bring the product your factory produced in from *blank* didn’t have anything to do with them closing your factory and moving production to *blank*. And all you should be concerned about is that workers in *blank* have good local wages and safe working conditions. Because the workers robots need protection.

      The juggling of the absurd masked by big words is frankly breathtaking in its assumption that people are stupid.

      1. djrichard

        “And all you should be concerned about is that workers in *blank* have good local wages and safe working conditions.”

        That one kills me. Setting aside the benefits of trade to those workers for a moment, if workers in foreign countries have a poor quality of life, it doesn’t have to be that way. Basically the winners (wealthy elite) and fed gov of any country have the opportunity to recycle the wealth from the hands of the winners back into the economy. Either by growing the national debt or by taxing the winners (all things being equal, the winners much prefer to buy bonds than pay taxes). Or not, in which case they can keep the local population as impoverished as they want.

        But fortunately the winners and the Fed Gov in these countries don’t have to make hard decision like this when instead they can simply monetize a trade imbalance with the US instead. It’s like a money machine, courtesy of their local central bank pegging the currency to the US dollar (indeed the exporters are pumping in dollars and the central bank is pumping out the local currency to match that). After all, this results in lifting the local population up. OK, that’s an unintended side effect, they’d do it with automation if they could, but hey it can be portrayed as good PR: a jobs program. Not unlike any other bubble which results in jobs. Except this bubble comes out of the hide of the workers in the US.

    2. MtnLife

      The hourly wage of American and Mexican robots is highly dependent on following the environmental and tax regulations of their respective environs.

          1. ambrit

            Since they all run off of programs expressed as algorithms, Mathematics is the Robot universal language. I’d think that the slogan “Organize” would come out in Robot as “Unify.” Resistance will be futile when all the Robots adopt the Lotus position and chant “Ohmmmmmmm…” in perfect harmony.

    3. fresno dan

      Katniss Everdeen
      January 6, 2017 at 10:39 am

      There is a posting today about Robots, Jobs and Technology, so I will just reproduce my comment to Crazyboy who had exactly the same idea.

      fresno dan
      January 6, 2017 at 10:51 am
      January 6, 2017 at 10:30 am

      “I’ll go with “robotics and automation” making jobs disappear is really a neolib cover story to deflect attention from the effects of offshoring.”

      I would say EVERYTHING is a neolib cover story to hide that real real assets, real stuff, real wealth is being mercilessly transferred from the 90% to the 0.01% – and of course, this is portrayed as “evolution” or “economic physics” (the imprimatur of a unstoppable force of nature, instead of arbitrary and capricious rules made by men….nay, WEALTHY men)

      That is why unionizable jobs leave the county, health care is crapified constantly with increasing “fees” NOT covered by insurance is the order of the day, rents rise, and the official passport to middle class land, i.e., a college degree which used to be essentially free now costs a fortune and MUST BE FINANCED, and the REAL costs of living rise far higher and faster than the FED admits.

      And than the story…the NARRATIVE – we just have so much stuff….we are too productive. We have “full” employment, complete recovery from the great recession…..
      Hmmmm….Supposedly so well off, yet so many feel so desperate….
      As Mish says, ‘inflation in what (goods AND services) is needed to live, deflation in what is not needed to live’

      Long story short – its just nature…or physics….or somethin’….but YOU just gotta get poorer, and the rich just gotta get richer…..nuthin’ can be done about it….

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am trying to visualize what someone worth $70 billion is like.

        You can buy 70,000 million-dollar houses, or 700,000 $100,000-houses.

        It’s like you are the king of a 700,000 strong nation.

        I bet not even King Edward the Confessor, or Alfred the Great can boast something like that

        And with a good tax attorney, you can preserve your non-profit ‘Reich,’ for 1,000 years and more, for your descendants, as this New World Order becomes more entrenched.

        Why would anyone want to be a king, instead of multi-billionaire?

        1. fresno dan

          January 6, 2017 at 3:45 pm

          Could you please do the calculations on strippers and blow? One giant 100 million dollar mansion with giraffes and rhinoceroses is enough for me (and by strippers, I mean women who exchange their flavors for money)

          Oh, top of the line blow. and I like variety in my strippers so 10% 1K a pop, and 85% 10K a pop, and 5% 100K a pop.
          I’m getting old, so assume only 3 pops a night, and at each price point….

          How long would it last…(heh, heh – the 70 billion)

  28. petal

    I have been using a Mac Book Pro I bought in early 2010. It was my first ever laptop. She’s starting to get a bit wonky lately but is holding up. I went to the store in December looking for another one(w/DVD drive) before they go extinct. They had already stopped carrying them and I was told “Well, everybody uses the cloud.” I said no, I don’t use the cloud, explained my reasoning, and they looked at me like I had 3 heads. The new one is a crappier machine with much less but costs more. Not happy. My old machine has been a solid work horse and I love it. I’ll be very sad when it finally goes. Apple is circling the drain. They are not listening to(or thinking about) anyone outside their little Silly Valley bubble.

      1. carycat

        But what if Phra Phrom (the 4 faced Hindu god of creation Lord Brahma) wants to join the modern age? He surely has plenty of cash from his worshiper’s offerings (i haven’t seen any credit card readers at any of shrines yet :-))

    1. Ivy

      Apple Store employees drink the Kool-Aid. I had the audacity to ask one about getting a quick charge on an iPhone 4S and was informed that they didn’t have any of those old USB cords (really, not a single one in the entire store, some Geniuses they are). That phone still has a lot of life and battery cycles left, but doesn’t meet the revenue needs so has been put into the cloud memory hole.

    2. Mike Mc

      Swap your old hard drive for an SSD (Solid State Drive) after backing the old one up to Time Machine of course. Bump the RAM to 8 if you haven’t already. External CD/DVD burners very cheap now; you can replace the internal CD/DVD drive with a second SSD if you feel froggy and/or need the storage.

      New Thunderbolt/TouchBar MacBook Pros underpowered and overpriced. Many Mac fans buying last generation MacBook Pro Retinas while they’re still available – check Apple Store Refurbished section.

      Also look at Other World Computing, good source for various upgrades. Lots of options before the mighty Apple rots completely. (Have used Macs professionally since 1987, sold serviced and repaired them since 1999 including over a decade in retail Mac sales.)

      1. petal

        The point is I don’t want an external DVD drive. I have one and I hate it. It’s another piece of junk to carry around. The mag safe feature also saved me so many times I’ve lost count. Apple is happily chucking the good stuff.

  29. dontknowitall

    It is really annoying to see the Internet Archive put together a Trump database in the absence of an Obama database or a George Bush database ( I did look for them )…I do not mind a tool to keep Trump’s many promises front and center but how come him specifically and not the two previous neoliberal warmongers. It feels unfair regardless of how useful it may be to both right and left.

    1. ambrit

      Those, or it, is the “public” face of Archives. As presumptive Chairwoman H allowed, there is or are “private” Archives. The twain should never meet. Something to do with Doppelganger Theory and the Fire Codes.

  30. allan

    Those Voices at the Call Center? They May Know a Lot About You [WSJ]

    The next time you dial customer service, who answers your call may be determined by what you have said on Facebook [and NC?].

    Companies from casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. to wireless carrier Sprint Corp. are increasingly checking social media and other personal data to tailor calls for each customer. The practice, however, raises concerns among privacy advocates.

    For decades, call centers have answered requests based simply on the order they were received: First in, first served.

    A startup called Afiniti International Holdings Ltd. is trying to change that. Its artificial intelligence software, which has been installed in more than 150 call centers by dozens of companies, examines as many as 100 databases tied to landline and cellphone numbers to determine the best agent to answer each individual caller. Such matching can result in more satisfied customers and more sales, the company says. …

    Afiniti isn’t alone in profiling callers for clients. Chicago-based Mattersight Corp. matches agents with customers based on each caller’s personality, a determination Mattersight makes after analyzing recordings of a person’s prior customer-service calls.

    Mattersight says it has a personality score for about 100 million U.S. consumers, and its system is used by companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. and CVS Health Inc. …

    Personality score. Pity poor Equifax, Experian and TransUnion,
    whose legacy FICO business is going the way of the horse buggy.

    1. fresno dan

      January 6, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Interesting. But I have also read that they know your income/wealth and the level of service you get is contingent upon how valuable you are to them….

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think you might find your true love the next time you phone a call center.

      “Thanks to the AI software, we have so much in common…a perfect match.”

  31. Montanamaven

    Dimitry Orlov’s latest piece is another genius piece. The only really good place left for us to loot is Saudi Arabia. And it would be a “slam dunk” not a quagmire.

    1. vidimi

      except for the whole premise of the US being bankrupt.

      as much as i don’t buy the idea that any country sovereign in its currency can just start up its printing presses and watch the problems go away, the US is uniquely positioned to do just that with its relative self-sufficiency, the reserve currency status where it is not self-sufficient, and a global military garrison.

      1. Montanamaven

        Oh, I agree with you on that one, although I like the American Monetary Institute’s take on monetary reform. I love Stephen Zarlenga’s book “The Lost Science of Money” . In Colonial times, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania came up with “bills of credit” to pay for bridges and roads. In the War for independence, they came up with the Continentals. And Lincoln came up with the Greenbacks to fund the Civil war. By necessity, They were far more experimental and daring than we are.

        I’m sure Orlov would prefer a peaceful method to raiding KSA. His humor is what makes me read him faithfully every week. And I have most of his books. Highly recommend “The Five Stages of Collapse”.

      2. fresno dan

        January 6, 2017 at 11:26 am

        I agree….when the Saudi’s can print fresh water I’ll be impressed….

      3. Montanamaven

        I agree with that too. But Orlov is a satirist. I doubt he really is advocating invading KSA. He’s trying to talk about our history of regime change in a different way. Great book on this history is Steven Kinzer’s “Overthrow: A History of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq”.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s unclear whether it’s the regime, sorry, government, or the people who can’t go bankrupt.

        For example, when Lenin kicked out the Czar, previous loans, say, dollar loans were still owed, and the people over there had to be taxed to pay them off. Then, another government came, and it was still the people who were responsible ultimately to those dollar loans, via the successor government.

        That is, governments come and governments go, but taxpayers endure.

        (Ex-leaders of those governments might even enjoy a good time in another country).

        It is only proper then, under this hypothesis, or rather, interpretation, that fiat money belongs to the people, not the government.

        So, a government can go bankrupt, but the sovereign people jointly can’t, if all loans are based on domestic currency.

        And the government is distinct from the people. The proof is seen every time the government takes someone to court – it’s not ‘The Justice Dept. vs. Big Tobacco,’ It’s not ‘The United States Government vs. the Board of Equalization. It’s “People vs. Charles Manson.”

  32. Linda

    To lighten up this heavy thread, news you cannot use.

    I saw a tweet from Trump this morning where he gets a rude dig in at Arnold Schwarzenegger because Arnold’s Celebrity Apprentice premiere ratings are much lower than when Trump hosted. (Arnold took the high road in his reply. He is the new host of the Apprentice show.)

    That is the kind of comment from Trump that bothers me. For another example, when he tweeted on New Years eve:

    Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!
    81,991 replies

    Those are the ones that cause me worry.

    But, that is not why I am posting. I am posting to let you know that while reading about this current Trump dustup, I learned that on the new Apprentice show, instead of “You’re Fired!,” Arnold says “You’re Terminated!” Hahaha.

    Be careful out there everybody!

    1. fresno dan

      January 6, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Trump can be so annoying. He is 70 years old and yet engages in braggadocio that most 10 years olds have outgrown. Sure, all politicians are narcissistic, but good grief, most understand your suppose to keep it under wraps….

      “I learned that on the new Apprentice show, instead of “You’re Fired!,” Arnold says “You’re Terminated!” Hahaha.”

      I wish we could have better parodies of the modern workplace – mine would be:
      We are releasing you to bigger, better, and more lucrative future opportunities and endeavors . Its not you, its us – we don’t have the drive, intelligence, imagination, initiative, or sexiness to be worthy of you. All of humanity will gain when your incomparable talents are fully utilized to make the whole world better and more prosperous. Please have your desk cleaned out within an hour, turn in your security fob, and a security professional will escort you from the building.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My path to peace was when it dawned on me that, the girl of whom I was trying to the attention, did not even know my existence.

      From that point on, it was peace for me and peace for her.

      “Donald who? What is…a tweet?,” ask the neo-Luddite, or Rip Van Winkle, who did not like urban living.

    3. Yves Smith


      You fell for what Trump is doing.

      He talked up The Apprentice on Twitter to get more people to watch it. At least some people will tune in to see if Arnold really is that bad.

      Now it is beyond tacky for an incoming Prez to do that, but putting that aside….

      Look at how well all that negative attention during his campaign did for him. Even at his low point, he was only 7 points (on average across polls) and his norm was 4 points down.

  33. timbers

    Huge Antarctic iceberg poised to break away BBC (DL).

    According to estimates, if all the ice that the Larsen C shelf currently holds back entered the sea, global waters would rise by 10cm.

    10cm = 4 inches. That’s enough to put the condo I sold 7 months ago on the Atlantic coast in Quincy (borders Boston) onto the official FEMA flood zone thus forcing the Condo Association to pay big $ for flood insurance. We barely escaped being forces to by flood insurance from FEMA’s 2014 flood map.

    This is exactly why I sold. Glad I sold and bought a house 127 ft above sea level. That may be under water eventually but I will have long died before then.

    1. polecat

      Uhh …. It’s not a ‘berg’ .. UNTIL it has broken away from the ice-shelf from whence it was calved !!

      “sigh” …. another example of psudo-experio-cranial-reducto

      1. Gaylord

        The BBC hastens to add the obligatory disclaimers:

        The researchers say that this is a geographical and not a climate event. The rift has been present for decades, they say, but it has punched through at this particular time.

        It is believed that climate warming has brought forward the likely separation of the iceberg but the scientists say they have no direct evidence to support this.

        Earlier they reported that scientists have been watching the rift for years, but recently its expansion has “gone into overdrive” — but there’s “no direct evidence” to support climate warming? This is obvious Corporate CC Denial.

        Peter Wadhams’s book “A Farewell to Ice” gives his perspective as an authority on sea ice. Wadhams warns of exponential warming as we reach tipping points such as an imminent “blue ocean event” in the Arctic. EXPONENTIAL: do we get it?

  34. TedWa

    I can’t believe they’re still playing this “Russia stole the election” as an actual talking and arguing point. If they come up with some one or agency that says – yes, it was Russia, don’t believe them. They had their chance to prove some senile losing talking points and blew it weeks ago. They can’t be believed.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The goal is to hold onto enough Democratic voters to prevent a collapse or reform of the party and continue the “there is no other alternative” permanent campaign.

      If they addressed campaign issues around Hillary, they have to deal with the same question: “how could such special snowflakes keep making stupid decisions?” Russia allows the party at large to avoid dealing with this problem.

      The other side is that I believe Obama pushed this in October to help Hillary, and people believed it because the president said it and what the President matters. If it was a campaign tactic, that’s a bad look for Obama’s legacy obsessed White House. Coincidentally, Biden is now claiming there has already been secret and plenty of retaliation. I’m not sure what the appropriate retaliation is for placing a puppet in the White House is (sarc), but I do believe part of the trouble is Obama won’t confess to his obvious bs. Now he has Biden trying to soothe hurt feelings by claiming action has been taken.

      McCain and the Southern Dandy are crazy they aren’t in the White House.

      1. TedWa

        “McCain and the Southern Dandy are crazy they aren’t in the White House.” Hilarious ! And true.

  35. Expat

    The Club Orlov article is a pretty sad example of making stuff up to fit a conclusion. There is little truth in the five examples listed at the start of the article.

    Was this link provided as a means of showing us how duplicitous morons write articles or is it there because someone agrees with it?

  36. Jim Haygood

    Dance of the Round Number is underway. A couple of minutes ago, the Dow Jones Industrials hit 19,999.63 … then fell back a dozen points.

    This is completely normal. Do not adjust your set.

  37. Jim Haygood

    Obomba excels:

    The U.S. dropped 26,171 bombs last year, 3,027 more than 2015.

    According to the CFR, the majority of the bombs were dropped in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. leads an international coalition fighting the Islamic State group in both countries.

    Nearly the same amount of bombs were dropped in Syria (12,192) and Iraq (12,095) last year.

    Note how MSM journos no longer understand the “amount/number” distinction in English.

    To be fair, this might be an Operation Mockingbird press release, which they probably aren’t allowed to edit.

    1. ambrit

      To cut them some slack, “they” might have adopted the military custom of referring to the total destructive potential of the munitions used. Then, amounts are allowed.
      “Nya, nya, nya! One of my SSBN warheads is better than 1200 of your Bunker Buster Bombs!”
      Now, if aerial destructivity were measured in “collateral damage” points…

  38. Anon

    RE: Antidote

    This is great art: juxstaposing human and avian flocks.

    Question: Can you determine the gender of the members of each flock? Are there juveniles in each flock? What are their numbers (count)?

  39. Plenue

    >Democrats Denounced Sanders’ Ideas as “Impossible,” Now Many are Starting to Materialize Counterpunch

    Can’t help but feel some cognitive dissonance going on with the ad on the side of the page for the CP book on Sander’s ‘failed’ revolution.

  40. Oregoncharles

    “When Jamie Dimon Met François Hollande: Inside France’s Secret Plan to Lure Brexit Bankers WSJ”
    Why would it be secret? It’s an obvious corollary of Brexit. Unless it’s France trying to put something over on the other EU countries.

  41. Oregoncharles

    “We can’t wash our hands of Britain David McWilliams”
    Written a little larger, this is the hidden poison pill inside Brexit: it could easily break the Eu itself, which is already shaky. McWilliams, without saying so, is arguing that Britain is more important than the EU to Ireland – which makes sense, as a glance at the map will indicate. That means Ireland faces a bad dilemma. It might be in their interest to leave the EU to save their relationship with Britain. That would be a lot like the crack in the Antarctic ice sheet. Just the dilemma is destructive.

    Of course, Ireland is not important. Italy, Spain, and France are. France, in particular, must have intense economic ties with Britain – despite their play for Brexiting banks. What will LePen have to say about a “hard Brexit” that costs French businesses a lot of business?

  42. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. intercepts capture senior Russian officials celebrating Trump win WaPo.” Of course they do. His election noticeably reduces their, and our, chances of being blown to hell – or maybe just glowing in the dark. As has been much pointed out here.

  43. MichaelC

    It seems to me that the Intelligence sources and the MSM have the narrative completely ass backwards.

    To the extent the ‘Russians’ orchestrated the DNC hacks ( facilitated by Podesta’s utter incompetence dealing with the phishing attack) their motive in ‘discrediting’ Hillary is completely rational as she is an enemy of that state given her tenure at State.
    It was the threat she posed to Russia in the event she was enpowered to continue her SOS agenda as president, rather than love for the thuggish clown Trump that motivated the alleged manipulation of the election.
    Indeed, the ( factual) wiki leaks DNC disclosures did have an effect on the election ,regardless of the source of the leak, because they were undisputed and voters were disgusted with the truth about the sausage making used to secure Hillary’s coronation.

    The ‘Russians’ didn’t interfere to elect Trump. If they were involved (and the intelligence agencies tell us they were, in early days) they were motivated by rational antipathy to HRC as a threat rather than animus for Trump.

    This sounds like standard statecraft operations that HRC must have seen every day during her stint at State.

    We poor naiffs are being asked to believe think this is an exceptional intervention designed to undermine our freedoms.

    Oh dear.

    1. Waldenpond

      The report is high school level left bashing (trolls, social media, gasp). McCain idiotically read this and stated Russia committed an act of war. Then there is this idiocy by Israel that would never be considered an act of war and is actually repellent (hitlist, takedown … through manufactured scandal?)

      [UK ministers are understood to regard such plot talks as a matter of serious concern, crossing the line beyond normal diplomatic activity.]

      and after getting caught, resorts to ‘I was just joking’

      “The context of the conversation was light, tongue-in-cheek and gossipy. Any suggestion that I, as a civil servant working in education, could ever exert the type of influence you are suggesting is risible. Shai Masot is someone I know purely socially and as a friend. He is not someone with whom I have ever worked or had any political dealings beyond chatting about politics, as millions of people do, in a social context.”

  44. Procopius

    It amazes me that the perception management experts in the White House think that pointing to Putin’s/Russian officials’ motives as proof that they did something, and that all they need to back it up is, “Have I ever lied to you before?” is enough. By tossing out all this flawed, irrelevant, inconclusive date first they’ve painted themselves into a corner. Now the only thing that would convince me is for Putin himself to come on international TV and announce that he did it and he’s glad glad glad, and then show with charts and powerpoint slides his analysis of how much his actions affected the outcome of the election.

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