Links 2/22/17

Photo: Great gray owl goes hunting TreeHugger (resilc)

French waitress drags huge lizard out of Australian restaurant Telegraph

Cat ownership not linked to mental health problems MedicalXpress (Chuck L)

Passengers walk through JFK checkpoint without being screened: NBC Reuters (EM)

The Pentagon Is Still Worried About Climate Change WarisBoring (resilc)

Not owning a cellphone gives you time to ruminate and to rest aeon (Micael)

This is big: Facebook trials new feature that will change how you use social media Thai Visa (furzy). The “One Ring to Rule Them All” strategy.

Germany suggests EU ease rules to deport asylum seekers Reuters (furzy). Elections are coming!


France’s Macron meets PM May in London, vows to stand up for EU Reuters. See also our post….

Brexit casts doubt over rating agencies’ London future Financial Times

Ireland’s Brexit meltdown Politico

Greek Debt and that Sharp Bite in the Backside FT Alphaville

Greece says Germany must drop demand for high budget surplus ekathimerini


Why Would America Deploy Troops to Syria If ISIS Is Already in a Death Spiral? National Interest Blog (resilc). Yes, I know, National Interest…but they say sound things once in a while.

New Cold War

How Putin Might Yank Away Trump’s Control Over America’s Nuclear Weapons WarisBoring (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Endless War Watch, Winter 2017 Lawfare (resilc). From last week, still germane

‘American Exceptionalism’ and Our Warped Foreign Policy ‘Idealists’ American Conservative (Darius)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Assange Strikes Back: WikiLeaks Won’t Bow to Ecuador New President’s Pressure Sputnik News (furzy)

Trade Traitors

The last big crime of a dying political establishment in Brussels

Trump Transition

Trump administration widens net for immigrant deportation BBC

Trump Team Maps Sweeping Deportations for Undocumented Migrants Bloomberg

Travel Ban Aside, Trump Has Vast Legal Arsenal for Deporting Millions Bloomberg

Why Polls Differ On Trump’s Popularity FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Trump to Fill at Least Three Fed Positions: What Will the Trump Fed Look Like? Michael Shedlock

The Meaning of Trump American Conservative (resilc)

Report: Putin’s Psychological Profile of Trump Calls Him ‘Naïve’ New York Magazine

How Trump’s Agenda Clashes With What Americans Want Rolling Stone (Sid S)

Poll: Americans overwhelmingly oppose sanctuary cities The Hill (UserFriendly)

Sanctimony Cities CRB (resilc). When Chris Caldwell is good, he is very good.

Goose-stepping Our Way to Pink Revolution Counterpunch (Left in Wisconsin)

New Yorkers Seek Ways to Cope With New World Order Wall Street Journal

The GOP’s Long-Term Structural Senate Advantage Inside Elections (UserFriendly)

Exclusive: Meet @ReaganBattalion, the anonymous squadron that destroyed Milo’s career MIC (furzy). Quite honestly, I don’t know why anyone was interested in Milo in the first place; we avoided all discussions of him like the plague. The only reason for posting this is as revealing the workings of internecine struggles on the right.

At DGA, Pearson Quietly Pulling Democrats Back to Prominence Inside Elections. UserFriendly: “Google ‘Elisabeth Pearson’ and the first headline that pops up is ​

Jay Inslee for president? Governor’s profile is on the rise Seattle Times (resilc)

To solve its pension crisis, Maryland should change how its funds are invested Washington Post (TF)

U.S. Homeland Security employees locked out of computer networks: sources Reuters (EM)

Fannie and Freddie shares plunge after court blow Financial Times

This is Why World Trade is the Weakest Since 2009 Wolf Richter

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds New Yorker (resilc)

Grumpy Economist Blog Tops Analysts’ Must-Read List Bloomberg. NC is featured prominently! And given that we don’t do as much hard core econ as we used to (markets so dominated by central banks and second-guessing them is well covered plus tiring). Put is another way, this suggests that analysts have recognized that “political economy” is where the action is.

Class Warfare

Robots Will Soon Do Your Taxes. Bye-Bye, Accounting Jobs Wired (resilc). Sorry, I don’t see any way out of my needing a human bookkeeper.

Economic Insecurity American Conservative (resilc)

James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Outside coastal cities an ‘other America’ has different values and challenges Guardian

Intelligence: a history aeon (Micael). Important. And that’s before you get to the narrow problems with IQ tests. I assume dyslectics score badly and yet many are brilliant.

Antidote du jour (furzy):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. Ruben

      I’ve been telling you guys, squirrelkind is coming after the big rock from space finishes all this human hubris.

    2. Edward E

      Wish they’d get busy and eat up all the super duper kudzu. Instead of the insulation off my farm trailer wiring and stuff.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Once again: the Japanese EAT kudzu. They feed the tops to livestock, eat the storage roots. Maybe some Japanese cookbooks?

  1. Bill Smith

    “To solve its pension crisis, Maryland should change how its funds are invested”

    They should also not be allowed to target a rate of return that hasn’t been meet in 10 years. The limit should be the 10 year average rate of return. Recalculating the numbers at the 10 year average rate of return would really bring some attention to the deficit.

  2. tony

    Trump is naive? He is a superb conman and has spent decades in construction and casino businesses, both of with have heavy mafia involvement. Seems unlikely.

    Russia Insider claims these are lies and that Andrei Fedorov is an unreliable source:

    America Laps up the Lies

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Have you not heard of not knowing what you don’t know? People can be savvy in one area and out of their depth in another. I’ve done consulting and have seen this regularly, most often with American execs and companies trying to navigate foreign cultures and markets. You can tell them God knows how many times, “It isn’t like that here, you need to do X differently,” and they’ll refuse to believe you no matter how much evidence you present. They’ll have to screw up and learn it the hard way themselves.

          1. John k

            Now let’s move on to Friedman.

            Why does grey lady keep these guys? Because they’re talking the rag’s book, of course.

            1. skippy

              It must be disconcerting to some… the very ideal that life long enemies are actually residents of the same ideological sphere… albeit might not be as close to the core as some others…

              Imagine the emotional discomfort Jim would experience to reconcile Krugman is a fundamentalist neoliberal neoclassical as a evolutionary offspring of AET’s various theoclassical founding fathers’.

              disheveled… dear dawg… that might threaten his entire grasp of reality…. it was written – !!!!!

      1. human

        Amurican Exceptionalists refuse to accept their ignorance, yet, the age old definition of wisdom is acknowledging that there is much that one doesn’t know.

          1. justanotherprogressive

            Look up Euler’s Identity….
            But I do like Ivy’s equation – totally imaginary – and irrational…..

              1. ewmayer

                p.s.: While Euler’s Identity is justifiably famous for combining the 5 most fundamental mathematical constants in a single neat formula, my personal favorite complex-number identity is i^i = e^(-pi/2), where the left-hand side has us raising the imaginary constant i to itself, and the right-hand-side shows us that the result is in fact a real number, 0.207879576350761908…

                [Proof is by taking complex logarithm of both sides and using that i = e^(i*pi/2) when expressed in standard complex-polar form: log(i^i) = i*log(i) = i*log(e^(i*pi/2)) = i^2*pi/2 = -pi/2.]

              2. justanotherprogressive

                I think Ivy created it, but it is a beautiful thing.
                Since not all of us are mathematicians here, I’ll explain:
                Ivy has DK^2 = -2, which makes DK = sqrt(-2) which is both an imaginary (aka Complex) and an irrational number. With pun intended, kinda fits those suffering from Dunning-Kruger effect, doncha think?

      2. DanB

        This kind of resistance to evidence is about maintaining power by virtue of perpetuating the perception that those at the top are there because they deserve to be there. When failure occurs they can blame it on underlings who failed to implement strategy properly, or they can come up with some suitable rationalization: it was the consultant’s fault!!!

      3. DH

        I think that was one of the reasons that we invaded Iraq. It was obvious that they would love the opportunity to have a democratic secular state similar to ours.

        It is also one of the reasons the British lost the American Revolution. They would capture the new country’s capital city, and in Europe that generally meant that you won, but it was irrelevant in America. After the American Revolution, the focus became destroying the opposing side’s army and navy instead of capturing non-strategic cities and forts.

    2. Edward E

      This certain family with two trillion+ bailed out Mr Also Ran so nowadays he’s their front man, like his brother Wilbur… the trump card is hardly naïve.

  3. Uahsenaa

    re: IQ tests

    The Weschler V is in itself not a good or bad thing, and as with most psychological indices, it’s mostly dependent upon who’s administering the test and what you do with it. For instance, there are child psychologists who specialize in what is called, rather awkwardly, twice-giftedness, meaning children who are highly intelligent but also have something like dyslexia or ADHD which masks it, and they have pretty effective strategies for administering the Weschler so as to parse the capability from the handicap. Oftentimes these kids completely slip under the radar, because to their teachers they look like they’re performing adequately but not exceptionally, when in reality they are capable of much more, if their learning environment were simply structured differently.

    As an example, my daughter has ADHD, so the numerous repetitive tasks you perform in school these days (like learning seven different ways to do basic addition…) cause her to lose focus, whereas if she’s allowed to move onto something new after picking up on what she’s been taught, which is generally quite quickly, then she can stay focused easily. She also sometimes needs to stay hyper focused on what she’s doing, but the rigid structure of the school day doesn’t allow for that. Basically, these kids need highly specialized and child-specific learning programs, and public school just doesn’t allow for it, unless your handicap is visibly impeding learning.

    1. Sam Adams

      Schools and classrooms are disasters for kids with ADHD. I could grasp the concepts faster than the rest of the class so I’d become bored. Bored I’d fidget. Teacher would stop the class toaddress my fidgeting. Then the class would slowdown and the whole rest of lesson would reinforce boredom.
      Those were the years before they drugged the kids in class into a stupor

      1. Montanamaven

        Ditto. Finally in 5th grade my teacher addressed my fidgeting by sending me to the teacher’s lounge to do the dishes with another “misfit” or put me by the window and let me drill a hole in the concrete block wall. He gave me my first speaking role. He went along with my story that I was born in Tennessee and had Confederate kin as we studied the Civil War. A year later he told me that he knew I was born in Iowa from my records.
        Loved that guy. In 6th grade it was back to the Nazi commandente.
        My father was an educator. He said that children should be custom made not mass produced. One room school houses here are still very popular. The older children help the younger children while the teacher works with individual students.

    2. human

      Basically, these kids need highly specialized and child-specific learning programs, and public school just doesn’t allow for it, unless your handicap is visibly impeding learning.

      Please give examples of private schools available to the public at large, not public special learning centers, where this is true. This is the crux of the argument that mandatory expensive public special learning programs for special needs students are diverting funds from the regular curriculum at public schools and therefore additional funding is needed.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I’m not entirely clear what it is you’re after, but I should note that private schools don’t necessarily provide this either. I never claimed that they did. Montessori schools typically do, for the most part, though what goes by the name Montessori can vary wildly, and are often much better suited for children with ADHD and other behavioral issues, because they enjoy a relative degree of freedom and can move from one task to another at their own pace, be it faster or slower. Obviously, this isn’t going to work for someone with a severe developmental issue or impaired cognitive function, who generally benefit from having personal aides and from being mainstreamed into regular classrooms. The point is this needs to be determined on a case by case basis, and the way both special needs and gifted are dealt with nowadays in, say, the Iowa City public schools, is very much one size fits all and woefully inadequate. The district has been censured several times by the state now for underfunding and not giving sufficient resources to special needs students, a state of affairs that is partially the fault of the district and partially the fault of the state. The services available for those with learning impairments are at least barely adequate (though not great) and the ELPs (extended learning programs for accelerated students) are a complete joke. My daughter learns more from working with me for an hour after school than she does from hours at her public elementary. If I didn’t have to work, I’d seriously consider home schooling her.

        If your question is in earnest, you could look to schools like Willowwind in Iowa City, or any other progressive school, where they have personalized learning plans for EVERY child, a portfolio assessment rather than grades, and do more than a token nod to foreign language and arts instruction. Obviously, you pay for it (though WW is on the cheap side for schools of its type), but it’s an open enrollment school, follows state educational guidelines, and our daughter would still be going there if we could afford it. There are also Montessori schools, single room schoolhouses (at least in Iowa) that offer a more traditional though hands on learning environment, etc.

        I would love for public schools to be more like any of these or, at a bare minimum, not be so woefully underfunded that they have to cut the bone just to make ends meet.

        1. human

          My question was informational, which I thank you for, and my comment a knee jerk reaction to the public/private school discussion, which I now see you are on the “woefully underfunded” public side of.

    3. Katharine

      It beats me why children should be required to learn multiple ways of solving the same problem. It makes some sense for the teachers to have to present them, in order to give more kids a chance of finding a method that makes sense, but if the kids find one that works comfortably for them, why should they have to master all the others?

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        The Obama Administration said it would cut off federal funding if states didn’t implement Common Core. What was described sounds very much like exactly that—Bill Gates’s contribution to “education reform.”

        And yes, the drain of resources from public schools, in part because of state budget cuts for them and in part because what little is left is now being channeled to private charter schools and into vouchers, makes it increasingly difficult for them to provide the kind of services special students require. Finally, when the sole criterion of success is performance on standardized tests that literally measure nothing of value to determining a child’s quality of education, you have the recipe for disaster the deVos types then use to justify total privatization.

  4. Phooey el estado

    Speaking of vast legal arsenals. You could contest immigration like the Dem party wants, and stand around in pink hating Trump with bored cops humoring you,

    Or you could make the government justify its actions to the independent international treaty bodies that oversee binding anti-discrimination law.

    I wonder which approach will get more press?

    And this is Texans, doing what never occurred to coastal Dems. So much for the Redstate/Bluestate divide-and-rule propaganda.

    1. Ranger Rick

      It’s always the process with these dreamers. How do you think an unelected international body is going to get the sovereign US government to do anything? Before I even clicked, I could have guessed this latest tilting at windmills came out of Austin.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are those independent international treaty bodies elected by popular vote of the inter-nations or are they appointed by ‘super-delegating’ political bodies?

  5. cocomaan

    Facebook’s new feature to link together all your social media accounts really isn’t that much of a development if you’re one of the organizations using social media as a weapon to change public opinion – government, corporate, whatever. I think you featured this article, How to Hack an Election, awhile ago, but the instrumental part is:

    As for Sepúlveda, his insight was to understand that voters trusted what they thought were spontaneous expressions of real people on social media more than they did experts on television and in newspapers. He knew that accounts could be faked and social media trends fabricated, all relatively cheaply. He wrote a software program, now called Social Media Predator, to manage and direct a virtual army of fake Twitter accounts. The software let him quickly change names, profile pictures, and biographies to fit any need. Eventually, he discovered, he could manipulate the public debate as easily as moving pieces on a chessboard—or, as he puts it, “When I realized that people believe what the Internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.”

    Who knows what kind of goofy stuff that old Zuck will be up to now that he has your LinkedIn! After all, we’re all working for facebook’s personal data farm. Maybe I can list it on my virtual resume.

    1. Jim Haygood

      When I realized that people believe what the Internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.

      Sounds like a great way to sell soap flakes … or war with Russia. :-0

    2. Ivy

      In a prior era, only 3ish decades ago, you could swap in green bar paper (remember that and dot matrix printers, or mainframe printers for that matter?) for Internet as the way to convince people of the truth.

  6. MightyMike

    I scanned through that Christopher Caldwell diatribe. He uses many words to assert that Democrats are concentrated in a few urban areas, mostly on the coasts while Trump voters dominate the mass of the country. Someone needs to remind him that Hillary won the popular vote.

    1. tony

      He makes a lot more arguments than that, and one of them is that the reason Hillary won the cities is because the cities are inhabited by administrative classes and the Democrats are the party of the administrators. No one cares about the popular vote.

      1. jrs

        dude needs to get out more, if he really think complex city economies are mostly administration.

        I think a more interdependent read socialist read left ideology will always hold sway where people must live interdependently (cities). And the closest we have to a left in this country is the pathetic Dem party.

      2. mpalomar

        I read the article and found it well worthy of skimming since it was overly long and made few insightful points, nothing new. The underlying theme is a thinly veiled reaction or annoyance with minority driven issues which do not qualify as the correct issues apparently.

        The point about geography, “The archipelago of constituencies loyal to Democrats is small geographically. But it has lately set close to 100% of the agenda” is a diversion, trying to somehow conflate elite, anti-democratic forces with diverse urban populations.

        Yes, a small group of wealthy individuals and corporations have stolen the political process but the geography argument should boil down to the obvious fact that the US electoral college, among other tactics of voter suppression and voter interference continues to function as an anti-democratic device.

        Discounting the popular vote defeat of Trump by citing California, the most urban state in a largely urban country, does not somehow manage to lend further legitimacy to the populist notion of Trump’s win. Why discount the fact that the actual population of the country is, “In 2010, a total of 80.7 percent of Americans lived in urban areas” whereas “Rural America contains over 75 percent of the land area and 19.3 percent of the U.S. population?”

        There is more urban poverty than rural poverty, “Across all four regions, poverty rates were consistently lower for those living in rural areas than for those living in urban areas, with the largest differences in the Midwest and Northeast.”

        The problem is not about Democrat vs Republican, it is about a political process hijacked by big money which has taken over both parties. The disappointment with the Democrats is more acute because they were traditionally the party of the dispossessed, the Republicans the party of the bankers. That of course is no longer the case with the demise of big labor.

        To make the moment about class struggle and awareness is indeed crucial, (Democrats and Republicans have both refused to address the issue) but to refuse to see the pain inflicted on minorities is counterproductive and denies historical context. The US is not post racial, it has been open season on black people by elements in the police forever, the jails are disproportionately filled with black drug offenders, blacks lost higher percentages of less wealth than whites during the financial crisis,
        there is a Christian right dictating the control women have over their bodies, trying to define who can constitute a family, discrediting essential science about climate and evolution etc. These are issues a broad coalition should organize around, accepting and recognizing not quibling over, insisting they be sublimated.

        The article retains an optimism about Trump’s election that I do not share. The final conclusion is we will have to wait and see what the consequences of the Trump presidency will be. Of the two possibilities suggested I suspect it will hasten the decline among the general populace. We’re getting a significant indication by his appointments that the populist hope is likely a fantasy.

    2. a different chris

      It’s not terrible overall but yeah, who of any sense even gives a sh*t about geographical size? Stuff like this is jarring:

      >The archipelago of constituencies loyal to Democrats is small geographically.

      It’s like pointing out how physically small Britain was during its colonial days — nobody does that because wtf is that supposed to tell us? Do we have to point out yet again that prairie dogs are not an economic or political constituency?

      Then there is other weird stuff:

      >Why didn’t it halt its protests when five police were massacred at one of them in Dallas?

      Because the organizers and the supporters, pretty much to a several digit approximation did not shot the officers. One guy did and everybody’s supposed to say “oh, my, I guess we’ll just shut up and endure for another generation then”. Do you expect white male drivers of SUVs to stop driving to work when a SUV piloted by a white male kills somebody on his way to work? Didn’t think so. Talk about sanctimony.

      But again, it overall wasn’t bad just need to remember that people like Caldwell can be allies in specific ways, but not friends.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I suggest you try reading it through and you will see that he does not need reminding, in fact he addresses it directly.

      A robust enthusiasm for American democracy is unlikely to survive where such sentiments prevail. Michael Tomasky of the New York Review of Books described Trump as laboring under “suspicions about his legitimacy far greater than those faced by any modern president,” partly because he lost the popular vote by more than two million votes. On the other hand, President Trump arrives in power with more of the country behind him than either Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton had. His victory was, of course, a close-run thing. But looked at closely, it leaves a political situation resembling those that have followed some of the great landslides in American history….

      Any place that has political power becomes a choke-point through which global money streams must pass. Such places are sheltered from globalization’s storms. They tend to grow. Austin, Texas, adds tens of thousands of residents a year, and is now the country’s 11th-largest city. The four richest counties in the United States are all in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Resources are sucked from almost everywhere into political capitals and a few high-tech centers and university towns allied with them, where ambitious people settle and constitute a class. The Democratic Party is the party of that class, the class of the winners of globalization.

      There are now just three regions of the country in which Democrats dominate—New England, California, and the Pacific Northwest. Otherwise, the party’s support comes from the archipelago of powerful New Economy cities it controls. Washington, D.C., with its 93-to-4 partisan breakdown, is not that unusual. Hillary Clinton won Cambridge, Massachusetts, by 89 to 6 and San Francisco by 86 to 9. Here, where the future of the country is mapped out, the “rest” of the country has become invisible, indecipherable, foreign.

      And the rest of the country belongs to Trump. Pretty much all of it. Trump took 85% of America’s counties; Hillary Clinton took 15%. Trump even won a third of the counties that voted for Barack Obama twice. In November the New York Times had the idea of drawing up a topographical map for each candidate that showed won counties as land and lost counties as water. Trump’s America looks almost exactly like the actual United States, diminished a bit on the coasts and with a couple of new “lakes” opened up in urban areas. Hillary’s looks like the Lesser Antilles. It is possible to travel coast to coast—from, say, Coos Bay, Oregon, to Wilmington, North Carolina—without passing through a single county that Hillary Clinton won. Indeed there are several such routes. This is the heart of the country and it is experiencing a kind of social decline for which American history offers no precedent. (The economic crises of the 1870s and 1930s were something different.) Here people fall over, overdosed on heroin, in the aisles of dollar stores, and residential neighborhoods are pocked with foreclosures. This country, largely invisible to policymakers until the 2016 election, is beginning—only just beginning—to come into view. Trump was the first candidate to speak directly to the invisible country as something other than the “everyplace else” left over when you drive away from the places that are powerful, scenic, or sophisticated.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This country, largely invisible to policymakers until the 2016 election,

        Who failed to make it visible out of ignorance?

        Or more worrisome, since so many were suffering miserably, too many for those in position not to notice, who, on purpose, worked hard to make it not seen? Were there people who were supposed to report these issues, to write books or make movies about them?

        Evil or incompetence – that same old question.

        And where are sanctuaries, even today, for the Deplorables to go where light is not blocked so they can be seen?

      2. ScottW

        From the Rolling Stone article: “The undemocratic skew of the Senate is even more striking: Republicans now hold 52 seats in the majority – despite these senators having received 23 million fewer votes than the 48 Democrats who sit in the minority.” When I lived in North Carolina, gerrymandering delivered a huge majority– 10-3 — for Republican congressional candidates at a time when the Democrats were actually receiving more votes statewide. While Trump carried NC, the current 10-3 congressional makeup was only achieved because of gerrymandering.

        Having lived in both “flyover country” and “coastal urban areas,” I have concluded there are few policies popular in “flyover country” that are good for the Country. For example, just look at the Southern states. First-hand witnessing of economic hardship, awful public schools, inequitable access to healthcare, etc., does not breed majority voter support for policies that would remedy any of the pressing issues. Name one policy the South has led on that is good for the Country?

        And if the Rolling Stone poll numbers are accurate, Trump does not advocate policies a majority of Americans want, although they are more in line with what “flyover country” wants. Unfortunately, neither did Hillary or the mainstream Democrats.

            1. UserFriendly

              IL barely did anything for them. If you only look at states with 5+ CD’s (hard to gerrymander much with less) Dems had complete control over only 3 states, MD, MA and IL; to the GOP’s 15. Those 3 states gave dems about 6 seats more than their vote % would anticipate. But that isn’t all gerrymandering. A neutral map of MA (9 CD’s) wouldn’t have a single GOP seat It would take a GOP gerrymander to make one.. The dems are all evenly spread there. For MD a neutral map would have 1 more GOP seat and IL gets tricky. Neutral IL would have 1-3 more GOP seats, however that would give Dems less seats then their vote share. That is the opposite of MA,

              I didn’t bother to go through what a fair map would be for most states though, but here is a summery of how many seats dems should have gotten from each state with 5+ CD’s if they weren’t gerrymandered. I included all states, who drew the map, and the change in reps. Also projections for changes after 2020.

              By my math they should have about 14-15 more seats with no gerrymandering.

              1. aab

                That’s interesting, and sounds right to me. The Ds overstate and overemphasize the problem of gerrymandering, but it’s not it’s benign.

        1. UserFriendly

          I’ve posted this here before but here would be my top targets to stop gerrymandering after the 2020 census. Including top chambers, current partisan make up and year of last election before re appointment. Ranks are by likelihood of a win and seats gained. Green top tier, yellow mid, black long shot, not shaded are unlikely to change or not much reward if they did.

      3. Ivy

        An interesting exercise is to follow Google Street View as far as you can on such a journey, or on any one of a number of other excursions through red or blue land. For example, look at parts of Chicago that are in the news for distressing reasons (could be south or west side, or could be in the Loop, or why not both?). The limitations to such investigation folly are only patience and accessibility.

    4. Carolinian

      Indeed “scanned through” suggests you weren’t paying much attention. This is the link of the day if one agrees with the propostion

      The key to Trump’s victory was his interpretation of the cultural elite as a class in the strongest sense of the word, a set of people who used government as a means of expanding their privileges and imposing their values. Democrats, again, were the party of this class.

      I’d say this article is utterly dead on and while the notion that the urban elite is confined to places like DC and NY is an exaggeration–as James Fallows documented in the Atlantic the “new urbanism” is spreading everywhere including even my own small southern town–it is undoubtedly true that the hysteria we are witnessing now is a cultural, not an ideological phenomenon. The article is a must read (not scan).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Falcons led for most of the Super Bowl too.

        If the Democrats used Republican primary rules in 2008, Hillary would already have been President as she had more votes than Obama, but in 2008, her campaign was more focused on rigging the calendar than understanding delegate allocation rules.

        When the majority was non voters, it’s not exactly an endorse end of the losing candidate especially when she under performs Kerry in states she knew she had to win to win the election. Let that sink in, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota despite positive population growth voted in higher numbers for John Kerry. Then of course, the obvious retort is what are the views of non voters in safe blue states. Would they have voted Trump if they thought the election was in reach? How would that have affected the popular vote?

        Team Blue will remain a bunch of losers as long as they stuck on “but we won the participation category” after running a candidate with universal name recognition, a unified establishment, a fawning press, more money than God, and a mythical record who lost to a guy who builds casinos and was a reality TV show host.

        Then of course, there is the long term problem for Team Blue created by a focus on “suburban Republicans” who were embarrassed by Trump but are perfectly happy to vote for the likes of Paul Ryan. San Francisco Republican voters for Hillary didn’t help win Congressional races in reach around the rest of state.

        1. fresno dan

          February 22, 2017 at 10:25 am

          “…when she under performs Kerry in states she knew she had to win to win the election. Let that sink in, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Minnesota despite positive population growth voted in higher numbers for John Kerry.”

          The commenter I always make a point to read.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I don’t know whether it’s your intention or not, but relentlessly insisting on quoting the “popular vote” would seem to make Caldwell’s point for him.

        From PlutoniumKun’s excerpt above:

        And the rest of the country belongs to Trump. Pretty much all of it. Trump took 85% of America’s counties; Hillary Clinton took 15%. Trump even won a third of the counties that voted for Barack Obama twice……. It is possible to travel coast to coast—from, say, Coos Bay, Oregon, to Wilmington, North Carolina—without passing through a single county that Hillary Clinton won. Indeed there are several such routes.

        Emphasis on the “popular vote,” coming as it did from the relatively small geographic areas of power, privilege and control, sounds more like a demand to submit than a commitment to self-governance.

        1. feox

          Yours is a landowner society point of view. What matter is the people, the actual human being, not the land.

          1. juliania

            Also, I’d like to point out that the vote happened in November. Who might have changed their mind since then? I know I have. I didn’t vote for Trump then, but I have changed my mind since. And it wasn’t to vote for Hillary that is for sure.

            1. aab

              Meaning what? Meaning you would vote for Trump now?

              I’m not sure the whole idea of people regretting their vote three months later matters (despite how much the Democratic apparatchiks push it), but I’d still like to understand your point better.

              Personally, nothing that has happened since has changed my opinion about my analysis or actions regarding the election. If anything, recent events have strengthened my belief that my suppositions were correct, and that absolutely no good change could come unless we first kept Hillary Clinton out of office. I voted for Bernie, legally, in California. (No idea if my vote was counted, of course.)

        2. jrs

          Even then, isn’t it important if Trump actually won those places by bare majorities or overwhelming ones? If it’s bare majorities then flyover also is much more divided than we would pretend.

        3. Nakatomi Plaza

          Out of curiosity, I looked at a few maps: In 2012 Romney won enough counties to draw a line from coast to coast, and more than one line, too. Same thing with McCain in 2008.

          It doesn’t really mean much, though it sure sounds compelling, doesn’t it?

        4. Anon

          The *number* of counties that had majority Trump voters means little. Since the counties in question are of different sizes and population. Trump likely won White Pine County, NV (pop.~5000) and lost convincingly in Los Angeles County, CA (pop. ~11 million+).

          Discounting the popular vote can be dangerous to your health: 1 in 7 Americans lives on the West Coast (WA,OR,CA), they produce a GDP larger than France, and they may decide to keep their Federal tax dollars at home, and take out their pitch forks sooner rather than later.

          1. aab

            Your final point is so inaccurate it makes the rest harder to respect.

            I agree that county size is not, in and of itself, all that salient. The issue is how very, very few counties Clinton was able to win, and how very, very concentrated her support was geographically, which means it was also very concentrated in other ways. It tells us a lot about how very failed the governance of the neoliberal New Democrats has been for broad swathes of the country. Bear in mind that Clinton basically couldn’t campaign in Los Angeles in the primary. Too many people in the Democratic base here hated her and protested her appearances and past and proposed policies. This is particularly significant given that she had every possible advantage, including nostalgia, which can be very powerful.

            Meanwhile, if my fellow Californians want to take out their pitchforks, that would be GREAT. They need to aim them at the neoliberal Democrats currently running California into dystopia. That is how California can help reform the political system and deliver better, more leftist policies to the rest of the country. California can’t and won’t secede from the union. Anybody who tells you it can should be immediately pointed at while laughing loudly.

    5. j84ustin

      I had to stop reading it when he asked why Black Lives Matter didn’t stop protesting when five police officers were killed in Dallas. I know it’s important to try to see where others are coming from who occupy a different ideological space, so shame on me, but I couldn’t take him too seriously after that.

    6. Vatch

      I wonder when all those good people who voted for Donald Trump will start to realize that he is betraying them in just about every way possible? Like all humans, Trump supporters need to breathe air and drink water, and Trump gave them Scott Pruitt, the polluters’ advocate, to lead the EPA. Like the vast majority of United States residents, they need to use money effectively, and Trump gave them Steven Mnuchin, the robo-signing Foreclosure King, to lead the Treasury Department. I guess Betsy DeVos could be considered comic relief, but the humor wears off when we realize what she wants to do to the nation’s public schools. I shudder to think what Ajit Pai, Trump’s choice as chairman of the FCC, will do to internet access for people in small towns and rural areas.

      1. perpetualWAR

        About when liberals determined Obama betrayed them.
        14. Million. Unlawful. Forecloures.
        And he won his 2nd term.
        Ponder that.

        1. Vatch

          I agree that Obama betrayed his supporters from the very beginning of his administration, and many never figured that out. I hope that Trump’s supporters turn out to be smarter.

      2. cm

        I wonder when people finally realize many voters were voting *against* Clinton, not *for* Trump.

        Please also account for the Democrats who stayed home instead of voting. That is what caused Trump’s victory: Hillary, twice now, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

        1. Vatch

          The people who were voting against Clinton (and I know that there were a lot of them) need to let their elected Senators and Representatives know about this. And they need to vigorously oppose Trump’s policies and his nominations. Well, they need to oppose the few high level nominations that remain unconfirmed.

        2. feox

          On all the issues Vatch mentioned, voting against the Democrat and for the Republican is actually an important ideological statement. It is against a minimum level of environmentalism and for zero. It is against a minimum level of regulation and for zero. It is against a minimum level of public education and for zero. Progressives like us might wish the Democrats supported more than just minimum level action on all those issues and others, but that is not the message the electorate sent. It said it want ZERO action. It actively encourages a shift to the right most important matters.

          1. shargash

            The shift to the right has been happening for at least 40 years, and it has been happening under Democratic as well as Republican administrations. I see no evidence that we won’t wind up in the same place regardless of which party wins. It is just a question of how fast we get there.

            You’ve been voting for the minimum for that whole time, and you’ve been getting it. And because the Democratic party has collapsed, now you’re going to get zero. If you had made it clear to the Democrats 30 years ago that they weren’t going to vote for the minimum, they wouldn’t have been running right for this whole time. And you would likely not be getting zero now.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        What was the time line for Obama voters to make the same recognition?

        Disdain of Team Blue could be a motivator.

        Bad government and terrible ideas has never bothered Republican voters before. Certainly elite Democrats want to paint Trump’s victory as a result of being betrayed or “OMG Russians,” but did Trump do any differently than another Republican? McCain had 59 million votes after all. Romney had 61 million votes, partially inflated by Mormons out West in safe districts who might not normally vote and safe blue district Republicans who might not usually vote. Elite Republicans bemoaned Evanglelical turnout. Was that a problem in Ohio for Romney?

        The population of the U.S. is growing, so although the GOP isnt replenishing it’s voter base, it’s voters aren’t quite at the dying age or a decline might not be noticeable as predicted. Voters opt for terrible people all the time and viewer show remorse. Expecting Republican voters who are likely the same people who vote Republican all the time to demonstrate a quality that Team Blue voters don’t show is not realistic.

        Besides when Republicans don’t get what they want, they blame “RINOs.” Much like how Obama was betrayed by evil Democrats such as Mark Warner (unless you live in Virginia, then you blame Evan Bayh and so on and so forth).

        When you look at the Obama victory in 2008, it’s important to recognize that was the organizing victory. The Democrats didn’t grow where they didn’t organize. There was no noticeable movement of Republicans to he Democratic column. There was one district with measurable split voting, and that Republican Congressman who was the beneficiary had recently won a special election and was a grade a constituency worker bee when he was in the state legislature and won crossover votes in his old district.

      4. fresno dan

        February 22, 2017 at 10:44 am

        I think blacks vote for dems even in Chicago because acknowledgement that someone is getting harmed is the first thing. When neither party will actually do anything, at least saying that people are in bad shape and that it not simply due to them being “deplorable” is not much, but it is better than not doing anything AND saying they are deplorable…..

      5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It depends on what was the decisive factor, among many factors when considering whom to vote for, for those voters.

        He was hardly the infallible candidate, and they knew about his many faults.

        Voters who believe in saviors, perfect candidates or saintly politicians, on the other hand, will invariably feel betrayed.

      6. Carolinian

        Here’s suggesting that those Trump voters (not including yours truly) are getting what they wanted out of the election even if he does nothing. After all Norman Lear, correctly, called this the f*ck you vote. In a cultural war the goal is less about passing legislation and more about changing the culture. It seems pretty clear that Trump and his consigliere Bannon see this as a cultural war just as Caldwell suggests.

        And who on the non veal pen left can disagree that our culture desperately needs changing? If nothing else Trump may wake the country out of its torpor if we survive the crazies on both sides.

      7. Anne

        You forgot Tom Price, who wants to make a mockery of “Health and Human Services.”

        But here’s the thing: if the only promise Trump ends up keeping, big-league, is the one he made to deliver jobs, it’s possible none of these other things are going to matter to a large segment of Trump’s voters; they will still worship the ground he walks on.

      8. Elizabeth Burton

        He’s not betraying them. He’s doing precisely what they elected him to do—stir the pot. Oh, I know some of them bought into his promise to bring back their jobs, but by and large, his biggest attraction was that he said what they wanted to hear and is now raising exactly the kind of havoc they dreamed of doing there among the castle dwellers.

        The idea the general was about policy and issues needs to be set on a very high shelf, because the constant debate about it is stalling the progress toward damage control and repair. It was and remains about a lot of people who have no reason to care about anything beyond keeping the roof over their heads and food in their bellies deciding to cast a vote that never got them anything they needed for someone who would at least not be one of the usual.

      9. DH

        They will realize it two years from now when they have lost their healthcare and their job hasn’t changed.

        By then, Trump will already have blamed it on the Democrats and the Republican House.

    7. Arizona Slim

      Yes, she did win the popular vote. Here are two more facts:

      1. On Election Day, November 8, Donald Trump got enough electoral votes to win the election. He also got more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton.
      2. In the wee hours of Wednesday, November 9, Hillary Clinton conceded to Donald Trump.

      As things stand now, we have a two-step presidential election system. If you don’t like that system, work to change it.

        1. witters

          So you would have gotten HRC – & this is (forgive me) ‘Changing the System’?! No storm, no teacup, just a softly falling snowfllake…

          1. Vatch

            Yeah, the choice between Clinton and Trump was a no-win situation. But there will probably be a Presidential election in the near future in which we may have a real preference, and it will be tragic if the Electoral College chooses the clearly worse candidate, even if the other has more popular votes. Will it be 2020? 2024? Isn’t it time to abandon our antiquated voting system?

            1. aab

              What this past year has illuminated for me is that the Electoral College is not the first, second or even third biggest problem with making our electoral system responsive to the needs and desires of the voters. It did something important and positive this year, in stopping a tiny, concentrated elite from continuing to roll over the citizenry. What prevented this year’s outcome from being a positive one happened in the Democratic Primary.

              Ergo, I’m not going to worry about it. Bernie would have won both the Electoral College and Popular Vote. Anyone offering already popular, universal policies that directly improve the lives of citizens will. So the problem is getting a candidate like that nominated to a national party, and then preventing the corporate media and entrenched elite from successfully making that candidate unelectable or unable to govern — you know, by pretending that candidate is a commie, or an unwitting tool of a foreign power (hard to imagine, I know.)

              1. ChrisPacific

                Agreed. The current US electoral system is an abomination, but it’s also enshrined in the Constitution (I invite anyone who hasn’t done so to read it sometime – nearly all of it apart from the amendments is about specifying the structure of government and how the electoral process works, in tedious detail) and would require an enormous effort to change. It’s a task for another day. There are higher priorities right now.

    8. Left in Wisconsin

      Until we have presidential elections decided by popular vote, who wins the popular vote is an answer to a trivia question and that is about all. In case you hadn’t noticed that Utah and Wyoming get as many senators as Cali and NY or, more charitably, that population sorting and gerrymandering lead to situations in which places like Wisconsin have 63R-36D state houses when a majority of state voters vote D, we have a political system that disproportionately empowers rural voters.

      I don’t think Caldwell got everything right but the key point, as PK notes above, is this and surely correct:

      E]nergies that used to go into building and selling now go into managing and administering. Fortunes and family lives now depend on how regulations get drawn up and how problems get defined. It is only natural that political “polarization” should be on the rise: The stakes of governing are rising.

      Any place that has political power becomes a choke-point through which global money streams must pass. … Resources are sucked from almost everywhere into political capitals and a few high-tech centers and university towns allied with them, where ambitious people settle and constitute a class. The Democratic Party is the party of that class, the class of the winners of globalization. …

      The archipelago of constituencies loyal to Democrats is small geographically. But it has lately set close to 100% of the agenda … This harmony of views was the result not of co-ordination, at least not in most cases, but of a common culture that rested on naïveté about, or indifference to, how life is lived outside of the urban archipelago. …The key to Trump’s victory was his interpretation of the cultural elite as a class in the strongest sense of the word, a set of people who used government as a means of expanding their privileges and imposing their values. Democrats, again, were the party of this class.

      Much of what Trump is doing, and will do, is terrible. To say that DC is corrupt is not to say that we don’t need an EPA or a Labor Department. But the fact is that HRC and the Ds were unable to say that DC is corrupt, even though most everyone outside the bubble “knows it” beyond doubt, AND even though IMO the vast majority of the corruption is corporate.

      1. Jim Haygood

        ‘But the fact is that HRC and the Ds were unable to say that DC is corrupt.’

        Probably corruption grows linearly with time, after each partisan changeover. Graphed since WW II, it would produce a sawtooth pattern repeating every 8 years.

        In 2024, if the Trump administration remains in power, R party-ruled DC will have accumulated a hull load of corrupt barnacles — not least in the vast. value-subtraction wasteland of military procurement. But will the new R party candidate of that year say so?

        Probably not. Trump is a hard act to follow. By then, culture will have shifted, partly because of dramatic economic events between now and then. Conceivably the rotten 160-year Depublicrat duopoly could implode, so that we can dance on its grave. :-)

      2. fosforos

        The popular vs. electoral college vote issue is the issue of legitimacy. But what legitimacy? The EC confers *constitutional* legitimacy–the legitimate exercise of the Office of President as defined in the Constitution. And that Office is defined in the Constitution as an *Executive* one, not a political one. Political legitimacy is defined as *democratic* legitimacy–endorsement by a majority of the electorate of the president as national leader with the mandate to implement his electoral program. And Trump has no such legitimacy–repudiation by a large majority of the voters and not even a relative majority against his leading (and spectacularly incompetent) opponent.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Political legitimacy vs. approval ratings.

          Many presidents had low approval ratings when in office.

          The football equivalent is draft status (the beginning) and actual on-field performance (during the 4 years).

    9. jrs

      Also Trump didn’t always win by that big a majority where he did win. Yea we live in Trump country now where winning isn’t everything it’s the only thing.

  7. JoeK

    Facebook’s latest is just another iteration of the fast-food triangle with the added twist of stripping away whatever vestiges of privacy users who choose to play along have left. Many of the younger folks don’t seem to care at all and generally give me a blank look or smirk when I voice my independence from the F-borg. I smirk on the inside; between futures in tatoo removal and privacy restoration technology, 10-15 years down the line, I’m leaning toward the former.

    1. RabidGandhi

      I was up in the states shortly after the Snowden revelations broke, and I was amazed at the reaction or lack thereof, especially amongst the younger set. The general attitude I ran into– even in my foily lefty circles– was a big shrug of the shoulders. “No duh. Everyone knows they spy on you. There’s nothing you can do about it short of hiding in a cave off the grid”. I later spoke with a credentialed liberal colleague who essentially said something that was shockingly equivalent: “No worries so long as you have nothing to hide”.

      My inkling is that the younger folks who shrug and don’t care do so because they do not see surveillance as an immediate existential threat: they shrug because they too share the sentiment that they have nothing to hide. If they didn’t share this lack of fear– say if they were muslim or ex-convicts– they would sense the immediate threat of having their entire lives arbitrarily upended by some fabricated evidence. In the end it comes down to the juridical concept of legal certainty. Some feel they have it, and are thus OK with surveillance. Others know by experience that legal certainty is now wily-nilly, and are thus rightly afraid.

      1. perpetualWAR

        The millenials who are unfazed haven’t met up with our corrupt nation state yet.
        Just take one step into a courtroom and they may have a change of heart. When they realize that the final frontier, the black robes, are bought…..then they will realize how precious privacy really is. And how we should protect it with our lives.

      2. RUKidding

        I have boomer friends, who identify as leftish/liberal, who tell me that they LIKE Deep State exactly as it is – spying on ALL of us constantly, recording everything, etc – because it makes them feel “safe.” I am quote verbatim.

        These are well-educated, articulate, well-traveled, knowledgeable and reasonably sophisticated people. LOVE Deep State – moar, please!

        Go figure.

        1. neo-realist

          Dollars to donuts they’re white too? I can’t imagine black people, smart and not so smart, young and not so young, feeling all giddy about being treated by the authorities as criminal suspects everywhere they go, particularly when it feels like business as usual.

          What do you expect from youth raised on navel gazing social media where people upload their vegan lunch photos and selfies with doggy faces?

        2. human

          Of course they do. The more invested in the current system (well-educated, articulate, well-traveled) the more receptive of authority. It is also a trait of conservatism. I’d ask, “what makes them leftish/liberal?”

        3. witters

          I have an explanation. These people are certain they are admirable, and so, when seen, will be admired. They like the idea, then, that all they do is visible and stored for later visibility.

          The deep question is why they suffer from this insufferable belief.

          1. RMO

            I vaguely recall an interview with a documentary film maker who was known for making films concerning small groups of people (families, neighborhoods, business colleagues) in which the subjects always came out looking reprehensible. He was asked why people were still willing to become the subjects of his films and his response as far as I can remember was something like “Most people think highly of themselves and if they have any doubts about that they are certain they will be able to maintain a facade on camera. They all forget the camera is there and revert to their nature almost immediately after filming starts” Sadly, I cannot for the life of me remember the film maker’s name. Sometimes I think about the character of Michael Scott on the U.S. version of the office. It’s an exaggerated portrayal to be sure but I’ve known many people who share that character’s unshakeable self-regard and complete lack of self awareness. They would find nothing frightening about being spied upon 24 hours a day.

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        …they would sense the immediate threat of having their entire lives arbitrarily upended by some fabricated evidence.

        Have you considered that their lack of stress comes from their knowing that could happen even if they never went on the internet?

        I agree with them. The idea that somehow avoiding social media and/or locking one’s online business under layers of “privacy protection” will protect one from that sort of thing is what’s naive, not their attitude. I don’t, of course, buy into the ridiculous “nothing to hide” idea; rather, I simply accept that if someone wants to go after me, they will, and if they have the power, they will be able to do so whether I’ve been chatting about my grandkids or my politics on Facebook.

        1. Carla

          Is this why people post photos of their children and grandchildren on Facebook, too? Because “if someone wants to go after [those children and grandchildren], they will.” Well, maybe, but why make it even easier?

          1. Anon

            Most folks don’t understand the Internet, at all. Not only can it track/log everything you do online, the cost of memory storage is so cheap that it is archived. To be used for all manner of “surveilance”. (Ad revenue for Google; “vetting” by the NSA, background checks by employers.)

      4. River

        I was surprised as well. It’s not just an American shrug either, but seems to be ubiquitous in The West. The response “everyone knows they spy”, I always countered, with “there’s an assumption and then actual evidence!”. Response typically: *shrug*

  8. mk

    Livestream SB 562 Rally
    on Your Computer or Mobile

    Even if you are unable be in Sacramento for today’s rally in support of SB 562, the Healthy California Act, you can can still be there in spirit. National Nurses United will be livestreaming the event from the north steps of the State Capitol building.

    What: Rally to launch Healthy California Act—introduce
    Healthy California campaign
    When: Wednesday, February 22, 11 a.m. PST
    Where: North Side, State Capitol, Sacramento

    This is your chance to be part of an historic day that will include activists from California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, Healthy California Campaign, Calfornia OneCare, HEAL California, Health Care for All – CA, Physicians for a National Health Plan – CA and our partners in the AllCare Alliance.

    Join Senators Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, along with activists from around the state to celebrate and commit ourselves to making this Medicare for All style bill for all Californians a reality. Together we are going to make history.

    Need a ride? There may be limited space on buses. Click the locations below for details and to save a seat.


  9. tgs

    re: Rolling Stone and Trump’s Agenda

    The author is probably correct that most Americans do not share Trump’s more or less standard Republican agenda on abortion, global warming, public education, healthcare and so forth. But rhetoric aside Obama’s policies on most of these issues were not much different.

    I also find it telling that there is no mention in the article about how Americans feel about our endless wars abroad with their attendant massive military expenditure. A recent poll by the Koch Institute (yeah I know) suggests that: DC Is Out Of Touch With Americans On Foreign Policy.

    That is a subject that Rolling Stone and other Democratic party outlets don’t want to touch.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Thanks, that’s actually a great link (underlying poll here). Whenever I ask acquaintances in the US how many countries they think their country has bombed over the last year, no one comes close to the right answer (7). (Which by the way is just nuts: what country bombs seven other countries in a year?) As the link correctly notes, this is in large part due to the blue/red partisan debates in the media which love to paint Obama as being timid in taking military action– a fallacious caricature that suits both Repubs and Dems just fine.

      Fake news is not just the news that’s published; it’s more often the news that’s omitted (eg, Yemen).

      1. jsn

        For the record (from what records there are):
        Syria: 12,192
        Iraq: 12,095
        Afghanistan: 1,337
        Libya: 496
        Yemen: 35
        Somalia: 14
        Pakistan: 3
        source: CFR

  10. craazyman

    I appreciate NC doesn’t endorse views expressed in links but the Truthdig article on James Baldwin in disappointing and not up to Peanut Gallery standards of erudition, illumination, insight and inspiration. It’s a whitewash (no pun intended) of the universal traits of the human condition in their full generalities, projecting them instead as a narrow and particular manifestation, a dialectical opposite of the old mondimensional myth of color. The silhouette so created is every bit as shallow and as false.

    I love this quote from Baldwin in the 1965 Buckley debate:

    “One has used the myth of Negro and the myth of color to pretend and to assume that you were dealing with, essentially, with something exotic, bizarre, and practically, according to human laws, unknown. Alas, it is not true. We’re also mercenaries, dictators, murderers, liars. We are human too.” There’s a writer for you! LOL. No bullshit.

    1. neo-realist

      We’re also mercenaries, dictators, murderers, liars. We are human too.”

      Unfortunately, if one watches Fox News or listens to Right Wing talk radio, these are predominant perspectives on black people. Nobility is lacking unless a black baiting black police officer, or a Black GOP operative makes an appearance on the show.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sometimes we drift into Godwin’s Law territory here too when appropriate. It’s become useful to understand some of the swamp fevers on the right.

      1. inhibi

        If you actually watched the video, and listened to the breakdown, Milo wasn’t talking about pedophilia. He was talking about his own life as a gay 17 yr. old in Britain who was in a relationship with 29 yr. old. He was musing about how it was helpful to essentially find an older gay to relate to because his home and school life was oppressing.

        Nothing about pedophilia anywhere. CPAC hates Trump and all Trump supporters. Obvious this was a smear piece. The Milo soundbite was almost 2 years old…and before he was as famous as he is now.

        1. Barry Interesting

          It was a hit job. The amazing thing is the transcript makes it completely clear that Milo was not endorsing pedophilia.

          The MSM didn’t bother to vet the story at all. Now everyone knows Milo is a pedo lover though.

        2. UserFriendly

          Yeah, I actually felt bad for him. He goes and admits to being a 13 year old who had sex with an adult and is using the coping mechanism of ‘I wanted it, it was good for me’ and the sympathetic media pundits tear him to shreds over nothing.

    2. Ernesto Lyon

      He is an ubertroll, yes, but like Trump he mixes his bombast with truths that are unspoken in polite society.

      He is the most popular young conservative pundit at the moment. Like Trump, he deserves to be understood as the cultural phenomenon he is.

  11. allan

    How Peter Thiel’s Palantir Helped the NSA Spy on the Whole World [The Intercept]

    … In the demo, Palantir engineers showed how their software could be used to identify Wikipedia users who belonged to a fictional radical religious sect and graph their social relationships. In Palantir’s pitch, its approach to the VAST Challenge involved using software to enable “many analysts working together [to] truly leverage their collective mind.” The fake scenario’s target, a cartoonishly sinister religious sect called “the Paraiso Movement,” was suspected of a terrorist bombing, but the unmentioned and obvious subtext of the experiment was the fact that such techniques could be applied to de-anonymize and track members of any political or ideological group. …

    Like a group in favor of Single Payer. Just saying.

  12. Alex Morfesis

    Bert sucker-marks & his 6666 word mommy-festo…sorry egoman…prodigy tried that and everyone since has…

    the bernaze sauce gets stale when you leave it out too long…and if you have not disclosed to the giant ad firms you keep pitching…your fartborg machine is neither tech company, nor media company…you are an entertainment company…

    but is it time for your manager to work on that permashow in branson or some tired vegas casino ??

    It’s almost tempting to find some tiny barely holding water start up and noin it and help crush you in the next 18 months as you did while the “geniuses” @ muroch-co let mysleep slip away into “the globe” & aol land

    Or I could learn to play the bouzouki…

    1. alex morfesis

      was this yahoo link to a bloomberg article written by a real person named gopal or some live from a basement algorithm ? ok…yes there is a prashant, and obviously some of those quoted have a vested interest in the idea…but since there is no one doing the math on if he would remove all 10 million plus illegals…THAT would destroy the rental markets in many parts of the country…buying homes is not the risk if he would help all the illegals disembark back from whence they came…

      but he is just setting up the negotiations…the cost for his glorious wall…10 to 25 billion…10 million illegals, each paid anywhere from 8 grand to 50 grand to get to america…just to be here illegally…

      if don trumpioni turned around and was willing to have these folks pay a fine of 25 grand each to legalize themselves in america, that would be around..oh…250 billion dollars…more than enough to pay for a wall with viewing stands and restaurants and condos too…

      if he broke it down with a payment plan for all…10 percent down…pay as you go…and be legalized….most would take the offer without blinking…20 to 25 billion upfront…done…

      if he adjusted nafta to allow all mexicans to buy a special 10 years residency card for 20 grand legally…2500 up front…pay as you go…he would wipe out the crime of the coyotes and the average mexican family would put up a framed picture of trump in their kitchen…

      the mexican government would jump for joy, and suddenly forget exactly why they were objecting to the wall in the first place…they will probably insist some of those funds be used to pay to build a wall on their southern border…but…the cost of doing business…

    2. DH

      Actually, it is going to raise home house prices, especially in the South and Southwest because the inexpensive laborers building new homes will have been deported. Their assumption is that new homes will continue to be built at current prices.

      1. jrs

        I have little doubt if non-citizens were forbidden from BUYING houses THEN housing prices would drop. And I would support a law like that unequivocally. How many houses do Chinese squillionaires really need to own anyway?

  13. aletheia33

    “why i am not going to buy a cellphone”

    thank you for this link. i am a cellphone refusenik, and this piece articulates well my main motives: especially, prioritizing real, tangible/visible/audible-in-real-time exchange and living with others over “fast” relating. and second, it seems to complicate life, not simplify it, such that one is constantly vulnerable to distraction and interruption.

    another reason i don’t carry a smartphone is that i am sure i would become addicted to it.

    yesterday during my consultation with an endocrinologist, she answered, via texting, 3 calls on her smartphone, which she kept in front of her while speaking with me. she apologized for these interruptions. had she had a landline on her desk, would she have picked it up when it rang? i’m not sure. her assistant had left for the day, so that might explain what she did.

    alas, not carrying seems to have become a kind of luxury that not everyone can “afford”. fortunately for me, there are enough refuseniks in the community i live in that it is still socially acceptable.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Only the rich can afford a smartphone with a retro mechanical dial.

        It’s the modern version of a laser buggy whip.

        1. Ivy

          If you had a dial phone, you might need to use the old East German trick of rotating the dial a few numbers and then sticking a pencil in a hole to keep the dial from returning to the original position. I was told that that was to prevent the Stasi, or others, from using the telephone as a bugging device to listen in to room conversations even when the phone was not in use.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          I have a retro-design 1920s candlestick phone with a rotary dial instead of buttons. It needs a new home, but everybody I know uses mobile. :-)

      2. Katharine

        I do–bought it from AT&T when they divested, stuck tape over a cracked plug a couple of decades later, can still use it. I admit, though, it’s not my only landline extension.

        1. jrs

          nice, it will be there when the power goes out, and the rest of the time can use the newer landline extensions.

          1. Dead Dog

            Many of you would know that the Australian Govt has been pursuing the roll out of fibre optic cable to homes and businesses throughout the country. I have fibre to the house, others less fortunate get fibre to the node with last few hundred metres using the copper.

            Been very expensive and govt has its NBNCo contracting out the work. They get paid by selling the lines at wholesale prices to the internet service providers – I think I can choose over 100 providers.

            But, many who now have copper lines and an analogue phone will lose this facility. So, when the power goes out and the fibre and phone towers are down, how do you make an emergency call?

        2. Isolato

          Ah, Katherine,

          How well I remember that massive brick! It survived for 20 years after I “bought” it from AT&T. Not a rotary dial, of course, but still. This thing was built to beat burglars to death. It NEVER failed until finally my teenagers dragged it off the desk one too many times, and then I couldn’t make the keypad work. Since then…I cannot count how many phones we have thrown in the trash… to Pakistan to be burnt for their precious Tantalum..

      3. nippersmom

        We have multiple dial phones in our house.

        I recently acquired a “smart” phone through my work. I admit it can be addictive, though I’m starting to wean myself a bit from it now that it no longer has all the thrill of a new toy. I am just as uninterested as ever in trading in my personal flip-phone for a “smart” model, and my husband does not have a cell phone at all. There is something to be said for being able to call in an emergency, or even if unavoidably detained (and pay phones are pretty much non-existent these days).

        1. craazyman

          Dial phones are aestheticallly superior to electonic digitial junk and have lots of advantages.

          It’s kind of weird to see pay phones decaying from neglect on the streets of New Yawk. I was waiting for the bus the other night and was staring at one. It’s like the grave digger staring at Yorick’s skull in Hamlet.

          1. RMO

            I still have a dial phone on my landline. The real reason I like it is because I like old things but the fact that it works when the power is out is an advantage. When I shared a house with a roomate and we each had our own landline it also had the advantage that the mechanical bell on my phone was easy to distinguish from his cordless phone.

            I have little use for the “smart” functions but I wouldn’t want to be without a mobile phone now that we have them available. The ability to call from just about anywhere has been extremely useful in reporting a fire and getting an ambulance to the scene of an accident quickly and I can think of a number of situations that I found myself in pre-mobile phone where one could have saved me some pain and anguish.

    1. JBookly

      Cellphone does not equal smartphone. I carry a flip phone for on-the-road emergencies and calls home from the grocery store (“they don’t have any X, do you want Y instead?” but this practical non-trendy device does not require me to change my whole lifestyle.

    2. jrs

      I want to live these peoples ideal lives, where time (or at least non-working time) is spent mostly in solitude or relating to others in person. But what do you do with say the time on the train to work? The real reality of how people ACTUALLY spend their waking hours? I’m not crazy enough to say smartphone while driving, but it is one of the few things that can be done to kill time on public transit.

      Yes you could read a newspaper, or a book. Balancing that can get tricky though, remember you are a sardine on the train, dangerously close to everyone else’s personal space, tablets and smart phones are space efficient to a greater degree, which may explain their popularity on public transit.

      1. I Have Strange Dreams

        “Space efficient”. Did you ever see Bill Hicks talking about people who work in marketing?

    3. Anon

      You need to find a new doctor. If she can’t give you undivided attention, her diagnosis is likely compromised.

      It’s your time and it’s your money. (BTDT: dropped a cardiologist and oncologist for similar behavior.)

  14. Ed

    “And given that we don’t do as much hard core econ as we used to (markets so dominated by central banks and second-guessing them is well covered plus tiring).”

    Me too! I actually was employed as a financial analyst a decade ago. Around 2008-9, I realized that I wasn’t assessing how well companies were run or how they were producing things people wanted to buy while keeping their costs down. I was pretty much assessing the likelihood of their getting some sort of subsidy/ bailout from the government. This country has not really had a free market system for some time.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Like ever? (Unless, I guess, you count the wild west where contractual disputes were occasionally handled out of court.)

  15. JohnnyGL

    I was reading that “Jay Inslee for President” article. I thought something smelled funny when his most prominent activities involved lawsuits on behalf of refugees. I’m thinking, “that doesn’t get you votes”. Most people are trying to get bills paid, not worrying about some refugees getting to stay here or not. And then, everything was cleared up when I saw this….

    Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, an influential Washington, D.C., progressive think tank, said Inslee has emerged as “a smart and articulate voice against Trump … his profile is definitely getting raised in the party.”

    My rule from the 2016 election is….if a candidate is getting favorable coverage in the media, they’re probably not your friend. In fact, they might be the enemy.

    1. Jim Haygood

      My rule from the 2016 election is….if a candidate is getting favorable coverage in the media, they’re probably not your friend.

      Also known as the Obama Rule, from the events of 2008.

    2. Benedict@Large

      So I take it Neera Tanden’s view for 2020 is that the Dems have to put someone up who can beat Trump. Sorry, but that’s too low a hurdle, and the exact kind of negative campaign strategizing that got them a loss in 2016.

      There are issues out there that people care deeply about. Trump in fact won because he simply talked about them. Imagine what the Dems could do in 2020 if they merely committed themselves to doing something real about them.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      Take it from a Washingtonian well accustomed to Inslee, he’s a genuine dimbulb neoliberal tool who may not be the worst person in the world, but is well over his head as Governor but is insulated from any accountability by the blueness of WA State. Watch video of him speaking, it’s almost like he has an obvious and profound learning disability. WA State’s lockdown of Democratic Party power has, in fact led to horrible, corrupt or incompetent people like Inslee, Murray, and Cantwell heading the Party here. They don’t even have to pretend to listen to the base, they have the full backing of the DP, and that’s all you need here to remain in office for life. WA State is full of low-information tribal Dem-bots who know absolute zip about politics or policy.

      The good news is that Bernie destroyed Clinton in the caucuses 74-27, but the state DP will do whatever it takes to make sure that never translates into anyone challenging the neoliberal stranglehold on power. If the neoliberals ever did lose their grip on power here, I can’t see them ever getting it back, the machine is all that is keeping them in place.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Yield on Germany’s 2-year Schätze has fallen to a record low minus 0.91%:

    This is really quite pathological, with German inflation rising at 1.9% year on year. It amounts to a negative real rate of minus 2.8%.

    The press says it’s a panic bid in response to Marine Le Pen’s threat to redenominate French debt. Another explanation could be that with new populist leadership, France’s moribund economy finally could be jolted out of its decade-long coma with an “animal spirits” boost like the one underway in the US now.

    In any case, you can practically hear the floorboards creaking under the euro currency, as structural stresses between its two core members threaten to rip it apart.

    We need to hold a big, rowdy NC wake for the euro when it finally croaks, with 5 D-mark pints and 20-franc glasses of champagne. ;-)

    1. Synoia

      We need to hold a big, rowdy NC wake for the euro when it finally croaks,…

      How can it fail?

      There is both insufficient money and insufficient French speaking programmers to have France Break out of the Euro.

      1. Jim Haygood

        That’s what les anglais are for.

        Bearing in mind that you have to provide an “electric fire” for their tea, or they get stroppy. :-(

  17. Charger01

    The Seattle Times piece is hogwash. I have nothing positove to say about Inslee.
    Governor Inslee is a standard – issue neoliberal Dem. He’s widely disliked outside of the three most populated counties in WA (King, Snohomish, Pierce). The two districts he represented in the state legislature remember him well. I don’t know what role or audience would be excited by his candidacy.

    1. perpetualWAR

      I laughed out loud when I read that headline!

      I also laughed when Bob Ferguson took the national stage. Bob’s a guy who earned FIVE solid speeches from disgruntled constituents in a solid Dem district: the 36th. Five speeches on why Ferguson shouldn’t get our endorsement even when there was no Republican opposite him.

      Washington politicians have the same stink as the Chicago Machine, only more distinct.

      1. polecat

        They rather do seem to have that distinct marine estuary/swamp odor to them …

        Personally speaking, I’m trying to lay off the salt … !!

  18. Praedor

    Jay Inslee? Meh. Not if he’s just another Establishment Dem who wants to “support Syrian refugees” while also supporting creating them in the first place with constant pushes for “regime change”, etc. I will not be voting for ANY Democrat who supports our rampant military misadventures overseas. No more regime change, no more coups, no more saber rattling based on LIES (the whole “The Russians are coming!” bullcrap).

    Now, if he supports singleplayer/Medicare for All, free college, jailing bankers and breaking up all “Too Big to Fail” ANYTHINGS, AND opposes more war(s) then I can consider voting for him.

      1. Isolato

        Throw Rick Larsen D (my rep. in the 2nd district) under the same bus. For the TPP, and anything Boeing or MIC.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          As my local rep too, I gave Larsen a good piece of my mind when he had the temerity to campaign outside the local grocery store some years back. He has never put himself into that position of directly facing his constituents since. Worthless neolib POS.

  19. PKMKII

    On Counterpunch and pink goosestepping: an impeachment of Trump lead by the deep state won’t lead to totalitarianism. It’ll lead to the neo-cons that largely run the IC getting Pence, one of their own, in the oval office and then it’ll be the Dubya years all over again. The liberals will then become confused and aghast that the IC weren’t on their side.

    1. Vatch

      Here’s an article from 2014 about Mike Pence and the Koch brothers. The brothers like him. A lot.

      From 2011, about our new CIA director, Mike Pompeo, who was known as the “Congressman from Koch Industries”:

      It’s easy to find similar connections between Betsy DeVos and the Kochs, and between Scott Pruitt and the Kochs. Trump may not realize it, but he’s a tool of Charles and David Koch.

      1. RUKidding

        Yes, it’s a good question as to whether Trump gets that or not, or whether Trump is just working hand in glove with Kochs. Either way is possible.

    2. RUKidding

      I keep telling my D-voter pals who are so keen and eager to see Trump impeached that they’re not getting it – that Pence is way worse. But I’ve been LECTURED to by same “friends” about why Pence would be So. Much. Better than Trump.

      In their “world”view, Pence is better because he appears to behave himself and present himself in a certain acceptable way. His politics, how he ran Indiana into the ground, his antidiluvean attitudes towards women, gays & minorities are of absolutely of NO consequence to them. They want someone that they view as a “grown up” in the White House. The end.

      I have given up attempting to talk to them anymore. It’s beyond belief, but they’re every bit as brainwashed as any Rush Limbaugh/Fox viewer is… all without monumental amounts of money spent on Hate Radio and Fake TV.


      1. Ernesto Lyon


        Nice-ism n. tendency, more or less socially codified, to approach
        reality in terms of whether others behave cordially; tyranny of decorum
        which disallows thinking or actingfor oneself; mode of interaction based
        upon the above absence of critical judgement or autonomy.

        1. polecat

          Maybe they should be termed ‘neovictorias’ …. **

          ** An amalgam or ‘Victorians’ … e.i. acting only THIS WAY ! …. plus ‘Like Victoria’ …as in Nuland ….

      2. Brad

        Yeah, the libs are ‘all in’ with Pence. Typical enabler psychopathology. At least Chris Hayes is starting to say some decent things.

    3. Dead Dog

      A great article and the best sentence to sum up neo-liberalism:

      The Trump regime (whether they’re sincere or not) has capitalized on people’s discontent with globalized neoliberal Capitalism, which is doing away with outmoded concepts like the nation state and national sovereignty and restructuring the world into one big marketplace where “Chinese” investors own “American” companies that manufacture goods for “European” markets by paying “Thai” workers three dollars a day to enrich “American” hedge fund crooks whose “British” bankers stash their loot in numbered accounts in the Cayman Islands while “American” workers pay their taxes so that the “United States” can give billions of dollars to “Israelis” and assorted terrorist outfits that are destabilizing the Middle East to open up markets for the capitalist ruling classes, who have no allegiance to any country, and who couldn’t possibly care any less about the common people who have to live there.

      I admire a person who can articulate something succinctly…

  20. allan

    Wells Fargo Places L.A. Exec on Leave Amid Rate-Lock Fee Inquiry [ProPublica]

    Wells Fargo has placed the executive in charge of its Los Angeles County home-lending operation on leave amid an internal investigation of its mortgage fee practices.

    Last month, ProPublica reported that Wells Fargo had improperly charged customers to extend their promised interest rate when their mortgage paperwork was delayed, according to former bank employees. The ex-employees said the delays were usually the bank’s fault but that management forced them to blame the customers. For the customer, the fees could run from $1,000 to $1,500 or more, depending on the size of the loan. …

    More accountability-ness from WF. Keep it up, guys – together, we’ll go far.

  21. fresno dan

    There are an awful lot of things to really dislike about Donald Trump and his conduct as president to date, but that doesn’t mean everything his administration does is wrong. In particular, there is considerable truth to what he has said about trade costing a large number of good paying manufacturing jobs and hurting the living standards of the middle class.

    Unfortunately, rather than acknowledging this point, the media show the same determination as global warming denialists in saying that trade cannot be a problem. We got two examples of this sort of denialism in recent days.

    Trade – the (economic) bible says its good, I believe it, and that settles it.
    What is good for GDP, and what is good for the majority of people are two different things…..

  22. Oregoncharles

    From the article on Ireland and Brexit: ” On the question of the €60 billion divorce bill.”

    This was also brought up yesterday, but it makes no sense to me. The EU is going to charge Britain to divorce them? How? What court is going to enforce alimony between sovereign nations? It’s absurd.

    Which means it’s really just a bargaining chip, a way of saying “we’re really mad.” Childish. In reality, for the EU to make Brexit as painful and antagonistic as possible is self-destructive. Remember, this comes at the very moment the EU itself is threatening to disintegrate. Taking the various elections coming up all together, they’re going to lose at least one more major country. Hell, they could lose Germany. Schaueble’s indiscreet comment, reported yesterday, that they have to punish Britain so nobody else tries to leave, was stupid on two counts. The first is the implied admission that EU membership is a bad bargain for some countries; the second is that punishing Britain is likely to have the opposite effect, just as punishing Greece did. It’s going to tell other countries that they NEED to get out – and some of them bring down the whole temple if they do.

    That is not a desirable outcome; the EU’s Peace Nobel was earned. Peace in Europe is worth a lot. Now the EU, and especially the Eurozone, has become a threat to peace. It’s certainly a threat to the prosperity of the peripheral countries, including large ones like Italy and Spain. And small ones like Ireland.

    Is the EU leadership really stupid enough to cut off their nose to spite their face? Well, yes, they probably are that vindictive – which, ultimately, is the reason they’re about to lose some crucial elections. I didn’t think they would until the last couple of weeks; now I think LePen, at least, is going to win, to everyone’s enormous shock. And Schaueble will not be in the next government – the one that participates in the Brexit negotiations. Should be interesting. I’m increasingly glad there’s an ocean in between. (A little hard on our European commenters, I admit.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The UK owes money to the EU it hasn’t paid. That’s most of it. The EU wants the tab settled.

      This isn’t stupid. Nor will this hurt any pol in Europe. The UK is not well liked. It got a better deal than any other EU member and still trash-talked Europe regularly and dispatched Nigel Farage as a representative, which is pretty close to sending a member of the KKK to a Black Congressional Caucus meeting. They couldn’t have been ruder or more arrogant.

      1. Oregoncharles

        OK, I hadn’t heard where the bill came from.

        It’s still odd to be focused on collecting it in that situation.

        It seems to me you’re talking about the EU LEADERSHIP not appreciating the UK’s attitude; little wonder; they’re effectively a rejected spouse. I was talking about the electorate, if they see the EU beating up on yet another member (or former member, for that matter.) If you’re one of the debtor states, that says “get out now” – it’s my theory that the EU’s treatment of Greece was a factor in the Brexit vote (would have been if I was voting on it), and in the rise of anti-EU sentiment in other countries. Admitting, I’m projecting from across the Atlantic; but I’ve also seen a lot of reporting on it, mostly here.

        Or looking at it more broadly: the situation is deteriorating rapidly, originally because they’ve been stuck in permanent recession, except maybe for Germany. Playing hardball in that circumstance seems likely to be politically self-defeating. SOMETHING is making the EU increasingly unpopular in some member states. Aside from the obvious, western ones, Poland backed off of joining the Euro, too.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The electorate does not see it this way. The anti-EU sentiment in various countries is driven by local beefs, such as immigration, wage stagnation, high unemployment, cutbacks in public services, and too many decisions being made in Brussels by faceless technocrats. Marine Le Pen may use the UK as an additional talking point now and again, but the French have never liked the Brits much. The UK press, which is all in for Brexit, loves to play up all sorts of British egocentric fantasies about their ability to hurt the EU and therefore why the EU will have to be nice for them. This is another one of those UK urban legends.

          And the fact is that getting $ from perfidious Albion will help everyone’s national budgets.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cat ownership (ownership?)

    New UCL research has found no link between cat ownership and psychotic symptoms, casting doubt on previous suggestions that people who grew up with cats are at higher risk of mental illness.

    Can they sue for defamation?

    “Senators, check that, scientists, you own us cats an apology.”

    1. fresno dan

      February 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      1. It is nuts to say that anyone “owns” a cat….
      2. I think it is a scientifical fact that you have to be screwy BEFORE you “have” a cat….fortunately, cats don’t give a sh*t about your mental health, although the orange ones will not tolerate being called “little Trump”…. As long as you keep the kibbels coming and pet them at their demand the cat will be satisfied with your mental faculties…

      1. unknown

        its worth noting that the study only covers youths up to age 18, many of the mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, do not begin to display until that time or later.

  24. torff

    That piece on the politics of intelligence is good. There’s just an important correction I’d like to make. The author writes of Kant’s philosophy that, “This line of thinking was extended to become a core part of the logic of colonialism.” But of course Kant’s thinking didn’t need to become extended to be colonialist and racist—it’s right there in Kant. As Justin Smith recently noted: “describing a report of something seemingly intelligent that had once been said by an African, Kant dismisses it on the grounds that “this fellow was quite black from head to toe, a clear proof that what he said was stupid.”” And in Kant’s own words: “[s]o essential is the difference between these two human kinds, and it seems to be just as great with regard to the capacities of the mind as it is with respect to color.”

    I could go on. Basically, Kant was deeply racist whose thought by no means needed to be extended to be colonialist.

  25. Antifa

    The Hill article on how very much American citizens oppose sanctuary cities . . . is a con job.

    The poll results contained answers from 2,418 registered-to-vote Americans, and was conducted by The Harvard-Harris Poll. Sounds up and up, but a bit of Googling soon reveals that this outfit is not at all what it presents itself to be — a cooperative effort between Harvard University’s Political Science Department, and The Harris Poll.

    The thing is, The Harris Poll WAS a product of Harris Interactive of Rochester, NY, a market research firm. Its founder, Louis Harris, died in December of 2016 — two months ago. Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll were actually sold to Nielsen Ratings years ago, although Mr. Harris stayed on. On January 23 — one month ago — The Harris Poll as bought from Nielsen by Stagwell Media, LLC, a new K Street media investment firm.

    Stagwell Media, LLC is “a registered investment advisory company formed by Mark Penn who serves as the Managing Partner and President.” It’s located on K Street in DC, and “specializes in private equity investments.”

    Mark Penn is the founder and key player in Stagwell Group and Stagwell Media. Yes, that Mark Penn, the “Chief Strategist” who led Hillary to victory in 2008. Or close to it, anyway. That counts, doesn’t it? The Stagwell Media website isn’t halfway finished yet, but already brags about Mark Penn’s 40 years of agency experience. Wikipedia tells us that Mark is married to Nancy Jacobson, a professional fundraiser and political entrepreneur, founder of No Labels, a super PAC devoted to bipartisan causes, all of which need lots of donated money. Jacobson was named one of the 50 Most Powerful People in D.C. by GQ Magazine in 2007. Mark Penn is currently a guest lecturer at Harvard University, although he’s also been getting the Stagwell Group up and running since June of 2015.

    So, a political lobbying firm with extremely long and deep connections to the DNC and the Clintons is presenting itself as a separate polling company doing some respectable work alongside Harvard University’s Political Science Department. Uh-huh. It seems self-evident that Mark Penn is behind both the Harvard end of the poll and the Harris end of the poll, now that Harris is really Mark Penn in the guise of Stagwell.

    Really, reporting this poll without reporting the con job behind it is not journalism; this is stenography at its best.

    If, as The Hill article says, there are hundreds of American cities ready to defy the Federal government, and provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, ready to risk their Federal funding over it, that is not something a poll done to perfection by a K street lobbying firm is going to be able to change.

    Though they are clearly trying.

    What does the Federal government plan to do when several hundred American cities tell them to go sit on their thumbs? Tell them to leave our immigrants alone? Or respond to defunding with, “Keep your Federal funding, and we’ll keep our income taxes!” That’s a good way to inspire sanctuary states. Whom do the nabobs in DC think is going to pick our lettuce and grapes and strawberries and tomatoes? Not Americans — not at these wages.

    For those who wonder, the reason we let undocumented immigrants into America every year is to pay them slave wages to pick our produce, mop our floors, change our hotel bedding, and other scut work no American can stay alive on. Then we deport them, or they head home on their own until next season. If we let those hotel maids and lettuce pickers stay here, they will very soon demand higher wages. And get them, or else there will be no produce in the supermarkets. And if the farmers start paying real living wages, Americans will start taking those jobs.

    So K Street is hurrying to the rescue, telling us what we think, even though there are hundreds of American cities who don’t think like this at all.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      First, this is an ad hominem attack. You need to show that there was a problem with the polling methodology. Saying you don’t like who did the poll does not cut it.

      Second, anyone in the Dem fold would be trying to present findings that showed that either sanctuary cities are popular, or no one care about them. A finding that they are seriously not likely is a big plus for Trump.

  26. The Heretic

    Chris Hedges mentions Michael Brown… there is some video evidence that clearly shows he is not a worthy Martyr icon for the black lives matter movement. (There is clear evidence that the first encounter with the policeman resulted in a struggle for the policeman’s gun with shots fired within the car (bullet holes from within the car, bullet and powder wound on Michael’s hand).

    Eric Garner however was a real tragedy, along with the incident of the Black man who was shot while minding an autistic patient and while clearly complying with police demands (thankfully he only recieved minor wounds). There was another video, showing a black man, stopped for a traffic violation, who runs away from the officer but was shot in the back. The video also shows the officer going back to his car, and thereafter getting a gun to drop on the ground, which seems to imply he wants to plant fake evidence and justify the shooting.
    Where is the outrage over these incidents?

  27. Oregoncharles

    “Santimony Cities: Very important, I think. I just sent it to the Oregon Green Party to think about. From my note on it:

    The fundamental point: the largest part of the country is suffering, and the elites running the Democratic Party – and for that matter, most of the Republican party – don’t know and don’t care. That part of the country just fired a very large rocket at the elite consensus. I doubt very much that Trump will come through for them – he’s not exactly one of them. The scepter is going to be rolling in the gutter.

    Who is going to pick it up?

  28. Dead Dog

    Re lizard. Yes looks like our goanna, or perhaps a monitor lizard. Their populations suffered when the cane toad infestation took off, but they have since learned to avoid them and they have recovered.

    At my local golf course it is not unusual to see one. They can be aggressive, but tend to avoid humans where they can. There are also other lizards up here, the salt water croc. You don’t want to be dragging one of those by the tail… and when my golf ball goes into some of the water hazards, well, put it this way, I don’t take my shoes off and wade in to retrieve it.

  29. susan the other

    WarIsBoring. The Pentagon is “still” worried about global warming. Mattis wants to untether the military from fossil fuel dependence and pollution. Makes me wonder about the blatantly unsaid thing in this article, does Mattis favor nuclear fuels? Also the too-convoluted article about Putin taking away Trump’s control over nuclear weapons – that one surely is based on recent reports from the ME about Russia’s new high tech weapon that jams our signals. Why don’t they write about it directly and stop all the annoying fluff? And also about going in to Syria (without a mandate) now that ISIS is vanquished – interesting that they are actually bringing water scarcity into the equation, finally. It sounds like some of the verboten things can now be mentioned, like all things global warming. This, of course, requires attention to a higher level of solutions.

    1. Synapsid

      susan the other,

      Yes, “still”.

      The first DOD report on climate change as threat to national security was issued early in 2004. The Navy takes it especially seriously.

  30. Plenue

    >How Putin Might Yank Away Trump’s Control Over America’s Nuclear Weapons WarisBoring

    “Russia has used unmarked troops to annex Crimea, unleashed cyber attacks and propaganda to intimidate neighbors and undermine Western democracies, sabotaged adversaries’ critical infrastructure and bombed civilians in Syria to crush rebellion against an allied regime. At times, these tactics have been accompanied by thin public denials.”

    Look at all that nonsense. I can’t keep track of all these websites; I thought War is Boring was one of the sane ones?

  31. ewmayer

    o “How Putin Might Yank Away Trump’s Control Over America’s Nuclear Weapons WarisBoring (resilc)” — The Putin did ‘steal’ (apparently thinking it was a gift) a Super Bowl ring from Patriots owner Robert Kraft a decade ago (as hilariously depicted in a John Oliver piece from his Daily Show days), so perhaps he’s merely trying to add a nuclear football to his NFL-themed memorabilia collection. Can’t blame a guy for trying!

    o “Passengers walk through JFK checkpoint without being screened: NBC Reuters (EM)” — I added this comment when I fwded the link to Yves: “ZOMG! How did the greatest nation on earth manage to survive such a devastating lapse in border security? Send more $billions to DHS, pronto!”

    o “How Trump’s Agenda Clashes With What Americans Want | Rolling Stone (Sid S)” — That gets my vote for Inane Headline of the Week. Why on earth would the leader of Russia put American interests first?

    o “Report: Putin’s Psychological Profile of Trump Calls Him ‘Naïve’ | New York Magazine” — When it’s the choice between said naiveté and Hillary-style warmongering neocon ‘experience’…

    o “This is Why World Trade is the Weakest Since 2009 | Wolf Richter” — But, but, the completely objective folks at the Financial Times (see today’s ‘Fed Minutes’ piece at Mish’s blog) that “Despite the background of political wrangling, the US economy has continued to see a robust expansion that many Fed policymakers think supports their median projection for three rate rises this year.” And the FT writers used the word “robust” no less than 4 times in that piece, so it must really be so, right?

  32. boomboom

    Caldwell’s article is yet another example of how Trump’s victory is convincing everyone that the real victims here are poor white folks. Well, Caldwell won’t quite go right out to say that, but that’s where his analysis ends up, if you draw those straight lines from Coos Bay to Wilmington, without walking through Clinton counties. Sure, a comment like LZ Granderson’s, about old white folks needing to die out, is not gentle and anoydne, but he’s a gay black man, for cryin’ out loud. In the face of Trumpism, whatever sort of Fascism it might be, you expect him to suddenly go running around looking for the soul of white America amongst the opioid addicts of W Va, David Brooks style? Calmly Conservative Caldwell is uncomfortable that there’s revolution afoot, in his beautiful land that he’d like to brown only very gently, sort of “caramelized onions” style, rather than “well-done like an effin’ Afghani kebab, thank you” style. So he writes a dumb essay, and then a bunch of anti-corporatist liberals think, ooh, how nicely he allows for white people to continue their supremacy over this land.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      I would summarize Caldwell’s essay as saying that US elites, overwhelmingly concentrated in a few coastal enclaves, are effectively consigning the rest of the country to a sort of permanent colonial periphery. This approach has led to the explosion of a crisis of legitimacy, which has opened up previously closed space for political engagement together with significant dangers.

      Your “revolution” language is… strange. You manage to label “steady continuation of the status quo” as “revolution,” while Caldwell’s attempt to recognize the current moment as potentially presenting opportunities as well as risks becomes, in your characterization “calm conservatism,” “David Brooks style,” “uncomfortable” with social upheaval.

      Of course, given that many people in flyover country who voted for Trump are white, it’s possible to take any critique of elite scorn toward them as being motivated by discomfort that the country is “browning.” But this isn’t an argument – it’s mechanical application of a branding scheme that characterizes “elites” as “antiracist people with culturally enlightened attitudes.”

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