By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Readers, I wish to think you collectively for an extremely thoughtful and informative comments section, even for the NC commentariat, for my travel day yesterday. –lambert.
“The Trump administration flexed its enforcement muscles by taking the “unprecedented action” of invoking a new authority Congress granted under the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. The action resulted in higher dumping margins on imports of oil country tubular goods — steel pipe used in oil extraction — from South Korea after an administrative review” [Politico]. “The new authority allows the U.S. to apply a “particular market situation” as justification for ratcheting up duties — which it did in this case by raising the maximum tariffs from 16 percent to 24.9 percent. In the South Korea case, the domestic industry argued that imports deserved more dire tariffs because of allegations that South Korean producers were using unfairly priced Chinese steel to make the pipe and tube. The so-called particular market situation of cheap Chinese steel in this case allowed Commerce to disregard home market prices or costs of production when calculating dumping margins.” It would be helpful, in a “Please, not 1914 all over again” way, if South Korea weren’t embroiled in an enormous political crisis.
“Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said recently the administration plans to release a legislative package in May. Investors have become more skeptical that the plan would win approval this year in Congress, which is controlled by Republicans who are traditionally wary of big government spending programs such as this” [Logistics Management]. “Chao also said that DOT ‘has a budget of $70 billion and we don’t build anything.’ She was referring to the billions that DOT distributes Highway Trust Fund dollars through a formula that essentially acts as a block grant to states. Chao now says ‘money is not the problem,’ adding: ‘There’s lots of money chasing too few deals. And so what we need to do is somehow work on the upstream part of rebuilding our infrastructure, and that is to let loose the permitting process so that der\egulatory efforts can be ongoing.'” “Unleash.” Send in the tropes. There have to be tropes [hums].
“Don’t Politicize the Federal Reserve” [Robert Rubin, New York Times]. Pretty rich, that headline. “The Fed is expected to raise rates two or three times during the coming year, based on its widely shared view that unemployment is as low as it can be without triggering inflation. There is undoubtedly still some room to bring those who have dropped out of the labor market back in, but mainstream labor economists say not much, especially given the skills gap.” “Mainstream economists.”
Cuomo’s plan: “Because Excelsior is what is known as a “last dollar” program that kicks in on top of other scholarships and grants, its benefit to the poorest students would be limited. Tuition bills at the City University of New York or SUNY — already among the lowest in the country, with two- and four-year tuition roughly ranging between $4,350 and $6,470 — are often covered by Federal Pell grants or state aid. What those students most need help with — living expenses, books and fees — will not be covered by Excelsior” [New York Times]. Must be an oversight.
.@NYGovCuomo and @HillaryClinton take the stage in Queens to promote free college tuition in New York State pic.twitter.com/tvXfIXFsjJ
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) April 12, 2017
But the kids are alright:
Appearance of @SenSanders in video elicits loud cheers from student crowd. Reax to @HillaryClinton far more muted pic.twitter.com/Uzgriwchc7
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) April 12, 2017
“Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has scheduled a trip to New Hampshire, where he might be laying the groundwork for a second presidential run, the Globe has learned” [The Boston Globe]. (O’Malley supports “all payer,” “another idea would maintain a private health care industry while achieving most of the goals of single payer” [Fiscal Times]. See PNHP here, including all payer in Maryland, more on Maryland, and here (also, a Vox explainer, because wonky). All payer is a cost-saving measure. It is in no sense a universal benefit, despite the confusingly similar branding (“all” vs. “single”).
2016 Post Mortem
“How Trump Picked the Democratic Lock and Won the Presidency” [RealClearPolitics]. “Trump’s process for winning the Electoral College can basically be divided into two steps. First, he managed to keep the Republican base mostly in line. According to exit polls (note that exit polls are an imperfect measure, but they’re useful for broad descriptions), Trump won 88 percent of self-identified Republicans…. Trump’s process for winning the Electoral College can basically be divided into two steps. First, he managed to keep the Republican base mostly in line. According to exit polls (note that exit polls are an imperfect measure, but they’re useful for broad descriptions), Trump won 88 percent of self-identified Republicans…. The geographic pattern here is relatively clear. Trump made significant gains in the broad Midwestern/mid-Atlantic region. He gained in large, less populous swaths of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maine.”
Realignment and Legitimacy
KS-04: “The GOP breathed a huge sigh of relief Tuesday night when Republican Ron Estes eked out a narrow win to become the next Representative of the 4th District of Kansas” [Buzzfeed]. “It was a victory that was at once a relief and an embarrassment for Republicans. In November, Donald Trump won the district by 27 percent; on Tuesday, Estes beat Democrat James Thompson by single digits.”
KS-04: “But in the middle of last week Republicans began circulating an internal poll showing Thompson trailing by just 1 point, and the national party quickly invested nearly $120,000 to back up Estes. President Donald Trump recorded a robocall on his behalf and tweeted about the race Tuesday morning, and Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) were dispatched to shore up support” [Huffpo]. “The infusion of cash was a signal to Democrats that, all of a sudden, the race was competitive. Yet the Democratic Party stayed out of the race until the campaign’s final days, when the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began making calls on his behalf.” Here’s the best part: “Washington Democrats, for their part, argue that had they jumped into the race earlier, it would have become ‘nationalized’ ― meaning voters would retreat to their partisan corners and Thompson would have been sunk.” Oh, come on. They couldn’t launder the money, or get some squillionaire to stump up? Leave it to an Establishment Democrat to explain how not giving help is actually giving help.
KS-04: “Tensions between Democratic congressional candidate James Thompson’s campaign and the Kansas Democratic Party spilled into the open over the weekend after party leaders rejected a request from the campaign for $20,000 and the campaign accused some in the party of “sitting on the sidelines” [Wichita Eagle]. The Democrats flushed over a billion dollars down the crapper of Clinton’s 2016 campaign. And they can’t come up with $20K?
.@TheDemocrats fight in Kansas is just the start of what we'll bring to campaigns across the county in 2, 4, 6 yrs & beyond. #KS04
— Chuck Schumer (@chuckschumer) April 12, 2017
KS-04: Yes, since a “massive swing” is a triumph just like victory.
DCCC on the KS-04 results: "This massive swing from the 2016 presidential results should set off alarm bells for House Republicans." pic.twitter.com/wzvpyXaA8f
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 12, 2017
KS-04: A theory of the case:
2. It really exists as a means of helping the existing Democratic House members govern through threats and candidate recruitment.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) April 12, 2017
11. Based on the Kansas results, there's likely to be a wave. The DCCC's job is to shape that wave, make sure we don't get any leaders.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) April 12, 2017
The iron law of institutions…
“A lot of people are wondering how Congress in general and the Senate in particular sank to these depths. In my view, it goes back to 1984, to a contested House race in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District between freshman Democrat Frank McCloskey and his 28-year-old challenger, state Rep. Rick McIntyre. In the initial vote count, McCloskey led by 72 votes. Then a recount flipped it to McIntyre by 418 votes, but with almost 5,000 votes uncounted for “technical” reasons. At that point the Democratic-controlled House instructed the General Accounting Office to count the 5,000 votes and any others disallowed by local election officials, and somehow McCloskey was adjudged the winner by four votes out of 133,000 cast. The Democratic House majority, led by Speaker Tip O’Neill, then voted to seat McCloskey on pretty much a party-line vote, and Republicans walked out of the House chamber in protest” [Charles Cook, Cook Report]. “The controversy over the McCloskey-McIntyre race led to the rise of firebrand Rep. Newt Gingrich, who effectively pushed out House Minority Leader Robert Michel, an old school Republican. Once Gingrich became leader, he promptly went after O’Neill’s successor, Speaker Jim Wright, accusing him of ethics violations that resulted in him stepping down.” Late Roman Republic stuff?
Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, April 2017: “Oil prices may be up this month but not inflation expectations among businesses which fell a sizable 2 tenths to 1.9 percent in April for the lowest reading since October” [Econoday]. “Inflation expectations among consumers have also been falling, pointing to limited expectations for overall economic growth and supporting Federal Reserve forecasts that core inflation will continue to remain contained.”
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, March 2017 (Tuesday): “The small business optimism index fell 0.6 points in March to 104.7, a slight decline that holds on to the bulk of strong post-election gains recorded in November and December” [Econoday]. “The small decrease was in line with expectations and indicates the continuation of a very high level of optimism for small business owners. Of the 10 components of the index, 6 posted declines, 2 were unchanged, and 2 increased. But the declines occurred mostly from very high levels, with the readings remaining strong, and the registered increases came in the important areas of capital investment and job creation. to increase capital outlays thus rose 3 points to 29 and to increase employment were up 1 point to 16.” We’ll see if the “plans” show up in real data. And then there’s this: “NFIB pointed out, however, that most of the March data for the survey was collected before Congress failed to pass a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare, which had been one of the key points that together with expectations of other deregulatory measures made small business owners so optimistic in the post-election period. NFIB also noted that the uncertainty index hit 93, the second highest level in the survey’s history, indicating that small business owners are having a difficult time anticipating factors that affect their businesses, particularly government policy. ”
Import and Export Prices, March 2017: “Boosted by farm prices, export prices are extending their trend higher while momentum for import prices, due to March’s dip in oil, has slowed” [Econoday]. “Today’s results will keep in place expectations for soft headlines but intrend core readings in tomorrow’s producer price report and Friday’s consumer price report.”
JOLTS, February 2017: “Job openings rose a sharp 2.1 percent in February to 5.743 million which is the highest level since July last year and the 4th highest of the expansion. Hires totaled 5.314 million which is also among the best months of the expansion though down 2.0 percent from January. Year-on-year, openings are up 3.2 percent in contrast to a 2.4 percent decline for hires” [Econoday].
MBA Mortgage Applications, week of April 7, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose a seasonally adjusted 3 percent in the April 7 week, while applications for refinancing remained unchanged” [Econoday].
Shipping: “The first train from the UK to China left London Gateway today, heading for Yiwu, where it is scheduled to arrive on 27 April, with 30 containers carrying whisky, soft drinks, vitamins and pharmaceuticals” [The Loadstar]. “The big selling point is that the cost is around 70% less than shipping the cargo by air, and 16 days quicker than by sea.” Also no pirates. Or aircraft carriers?
Shipping: “THE unprecedented liner capacity shortages on Europe to Asia ocean trades could continue beyond the transition of box carriers to new alliance schedules for several more weeks at least, putting upward pressure on freight rates and creating supply chain challenges for forwarders” [Lloyd’s List]. Cartels work!
The Bezzle: “South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world’s second-largest shipbuilder by revenue, could go into receivership as soon as next week unless its creditors agree to massive losses, according to people involved in the restructuring efforts” [Wall Street Journal].
Labor Power: “Through March 2017, nominal hourly wages were up 2.7% year-over-year. This is a pickup from last year, and so far it appears wages will increase at a faster rate in 2017” [Calculated Risk].
Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 28 Fear (previous close: 31, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 43 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Apr 12 at 12:30pm. “And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about 100 miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas.”
Our Famously Free Press
When the top left doesn’t know what the bottom right is doing:
Further to Yves’s post this morning: The press as a whole — including here a flagship mainstream publication, the pink paper — can’t get basic facts in the United flight 3411 right; here is “overbooking” incorrectly reported (top right), and correctly reported (bottom left), on the very same page. What sort of editorial process allowed the presses to roll? And this is a relatively simple story. Is there a reason we should expect the press to get more complex stories — say, sarin gas in Syria — correct at some level greater than chance? And how exactly do the oligopolistic brainiacs at Google propose to distinguish fake news from such misreporting algorithmically? (Sorry for the slight discoloration; that’s a water spot — really! — from dinner, which I sometimes like to spice up with the FT. Think of the water spot as a sign of authenticity, like scars in fine leather. And sorry for the distortion; best I could do with the iPad.)
Simon Stålenhag really seems to be catching the zeitgeist for today’s newsflow:
That 2 am long-distance sync. https://t.co/epuXYUOHzD pic.twitter.com/SXvblZ5Wot
— Simon Stålenhag (@simonstalenhag) March 14, 2017
“Julian Assange: WikiLeaks has the same mission as The Post and the Times” [WaPo]. Well, for some definition of “mission.” “Same same but different,” as they say in Thailand.
46% of Republicans favor strongly or Favor somewhat “Expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American”:
New poll from @TheEconomist and @YouGov confirms: it's not just Democrats and liberals who support #MedicareForAll. pic.twitter.com/pFQWtCpUvY
— PNHP (@PNHP) April 7, 2017
Yeah, but are they suburban Republicans?
“Americans are no strangers to medical debt, and the burden is most severe in Mississippi, where nearly 40 percent of adults under age 65 owe hospitals or doctors, according to the Urban Institute. But the men and women carrying that debt are not always poor — they’re increasingly middle class. And their inability, or refusal, to pay their bills is straining hospital budgets and threatening the availability of care” [Stat]. “Refusal,” as in a debtor’s strike, would be interesting. “Elsewhere in Mississippi, there are plenty of opinions from experts and advocates on how to reduce past-due medical debt: expand Medicaid, create jobs, let providers become insurers. But right now, with no clear solution, hospitals are likely to remain mired in debt, just like their patients.”
“America: equity and equality in health” [Lancet]. This is an excellent series of five articles from the Lancet.
Dear Old Blighty
“The NHS is putting diabetic patients at risk of serious illness by rationing test strips that monitor blood glucose levels in an attempt to save money, a charity claims” [Guardian]. As the Tories continue to saw across the NHS’s windpipe with austerity’s rusty knife….
“Rules the Google founders followed from the start” [CNBC]. Oddly, or not, “Don’t be evil” isn’t listed.
“Reporters at the newly merged DNAinfo New York and Gothamist news sites will join the growing Writers Guild of America–East union, they announced Wednesday morning” [Crains New York]. Good. “‘Everything happened and we didn’t have a seat at the table,’ said Noah Hurowitz, a DNAinfo reporter and member of the organizing committee. ‘And we want to be able to have some collective voice in the future of the company.'”
News of the Wired
In fact — [***cough***] — I think I’ve caught the zeitgest too. Here’s some more Stålenhag:
Roadside corporate message.https://t.co/epuXYV6iYd pic.twitter.com/oQFzo2o00X
— Simon Stålenhag (@simonstalenhag) October 31, 2016
Something has happened at the border checkpoint.
Get no answers at https://t.co/epuXYUOHzD pic.twitter.com/DkQWZpqauV
— Simon Stålenhag (@simonstalenhag) February 7, 2017
“After vote to kill privacy rules, users try to “pollute” their Web history” [Ars Technica]. Dunno about this. It seems to me that algorithmic pollution ought to be pretty easy to remove algorithmically.
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It was Hillary’s means test version of free college tuition that got passed.
I remember adamant opposition to means testing here last year.
It was an incremental (HIllary’s) step.
Excremental. Fixed it for ya.
I don’t like incremental.
Here is a sure way of getting universal health care. Incrementally increase the eligibility age group by one year every year (or two years every year at both old and young ends, for the express version). This tortoise will beat any hare brained scheme for radical change by collapsing private health care in matter of 10 -15 years. It allows for a predictable model (that is what insurance loves) of reorganizing business and retreat. Similar kind of thing would also work to get rid of big tobacco though the mechanics of it would be more rube-goldberg. Incrementalism works if there is a long term plan, that is why some things like fuel efficiency and reducing toxic environment have been if not spectacularly, somewhat improved. Incrementalism is difficult because it is not, or rather should not be, the same as political compromise. If one thinks about it it should work, selling it is a totally different matter.
Only if it is carried out. Medicare was supposed to expand incrementally to universal healthcare, but there was only one increment. Promises, promises.
My understanding, having been and working for a College recently, was that Financial Aid was means tested… which is why I wasn’t offered any non-interest accruing loans or Pell Grants (that they seemed to pass out to everyone), even though my parents were average low-middle class earners. Because I had separated parents who were each married (therefore filing jointly), I got screwed. So I am imagining this means testing will be just as great of an opportunity for people out there…
**I should add, that is what I think happened. I never really understood what the heck was going on with the bloated process.
Reminds me of the financial aid available to my fellow students when I was going to school to train as an aircraft mechanic. One guy had made the point of buying a three year old Toyota pickup so he would have a reliable vehicle to get him to school every day (he had a long commute and the school has a policy for the aircraft mechanic program that if you miss more than a couple of days per “level” – eight levels over more than two years, eight hours a day, five days a week – you get kicked out). He applied for financial aid and loans but was denied because the three year old Toyota meant he had too many assets to receive either loans or aid. Four other students did get both aid and loans. When we asked how they managed to get around the asset and income limits they said they just lied:-) Never occurred to me to try that…
It helps to keep in mind that “means testing” is neoliberal-speak for “ensure as few people as possible qualify.” The corollary being “and ensure those who actually do get as little as possible.”
fwiw I paid my own way through fancy colleges 40 years ago by being a ‘self-supporting student,’ ie by showing that I wasn’t claimed as a dependent on my parents’ 1040. Debt was at most a third of my largesse received. The tuition savings dwarfed their lost deduction, even then.
Kids can’t do that today. They only become “independent” when they reach the age 24.
I love all the inconsistencies. A college student, although legally an adult if they are over 18, is economically treated as a dependent, in that the parents are considered on the hook to pay for tuition, to the point of real economic hardship, plus additional intense coercion to take out loans if necessary to help the student. Yet those tuition-paying parents have no right to even speak to the administration. The student has to sign a waiver to allow their parents to see what their grades are, even if the parent paid $70,000 to send them to the school that year.
It’s logically inconsistent. It only makes sense if you remember that college now exists to extract money, and most “adult” 18 year olds don’t have any.
So the Democrats were preparing to launch an all gender draft (say, could that be part of why they’re so fixated on transgendered bathroom access?), meaning an 18 year old adult could be forced to fight and die, but not be considered independent economically for the purposes of applying to college, because that would be inconvenient for the college. Sort of like how United Airlines can use state force to steal back a good (a seat on this flight on this day, at this time) it has previously sold to a customer, if it would be inconvenient for United Airlines to uphold the contract it had agreed to previously.
This is “free” trade: contracts and economic relationships are defined in relationship to and enforceable only as convenient for the more powerful party.
Incrementalism: Well that should placate the rabble for another 30 or 40 years.
Andrew Cuomo plays Spy vs.
Spyde Blasio at NYC’s airports:
Cuomo’s state trooper rollout at NYC airports aims to debase de Blasio, critics say [NYDN]
> more plainclothes NYPD cops have been seen at the airport, watching the movements of state troopers
This is one unusual example where “stop and frisk” would be a wise policy.
Full patdowns, please. ;-)
Moar Cuomo p0rn: Cuomo: Upstate ‘roaring back to life’ [D&C]
And first-rate states don’t have neoliberal governors with one eye on 2020.
The train wreck of the Cuomo run will be spectacular.
He has no concept about the mood of the electorate.
> “First-rate economies have Uber,” Cuomo said.
Looking on the bright side, plenty of people in upstate cities are sleeping in their cars already, so at least there’s no net loss.
Yeah but in order for these ride sharing apps to work, they need marks to sign up to drive for them.
Ah yes, the large tourist attractions of Binghamton, Utica, and Syracuse must be bringing them by the tens. Why do I think this really is for subsidised rides for college students at 2 AM.
It’s for Saratoga Springs track season. The 1% come up from Long Island to watch the horses race. Saratoga jacks up the price on beer and food and makes the town uninhabitable for the rest of us, although there is some comfort in knowing that the beer I had for $4 last week is going for $10.
Upstate New York is a third world political economy, isn’t it?
Parts of it look more like abandoned Former Second World economies.
Yes it is. Recourse extraction economy is the largest bit of GDP.
Non-GDP would go to smuggling and drug related sales, which would dwarf the above bit of GDP.
Don’t tell the swells this, they have summer houses there! Think of the property value impact!
Thanks for the links about the national Democratic party’s intentional incompetence in the Kansas special election. This morning I posted the phone numbers of the DNC and DCCC here:
When I called, nobody at either the DNC or the DCCC answered the phone. It’s easy to leave a voice mail message at the DNC. It’s not so easy at the DCCC, because you have to enter an extension. They do have a directory, but it’s pretty obvious they don’t want to talk to members of the public.
And I was on the verge of actually sending money to the DNC.
Whew! That was close!
Here in AZ, a friend is contemplating a run for governor. Okay, fine. Do it, Steve.
However, he has been sending e-mails that request donations to the Arizona Democratic Party.
No. Uh-uh. No way.
Not after what they did to Bernie during last year’s primary. It was as if the ADP was a branch of the Clinton campaign.
That wasn’t the National Socialiat ADP, was it?
incompetence? Or sabotage?
Because if it was sabotage, it was carried out very successfully. Very, dare I say . . . competently.
Wow. That is some flower pic!
Looks like Anza Borrego Desert in eastern San Diego county. A great year for the desert blooms due to all the rain out here, although not the most impressive year that I’ve witnessed. Still gorgeous, though. Lucky to have gotten out that way this year. A lovely spot on our planet.
I drive thru there once in a great while when I go visit Orange County. But never got the timing right to do it at cactus bloom season, which is rather short. Been thru it after summer rains or monsoon season more towards the AZ part of the trip. I was always amazed how green the desert could get.
Anza Borrego is a spectacular desert state park! Camped there many, many times.
Lots of beautiful Verbena as in today’s photo
I really dig Stålenhag’s work. For some reason he reminds me of Greg Crewdson, but an obviously more Sci-Fi oriented Crewdson
Amazing history that 1894 election.
Stålenhag is a visionary. Favorite contemporary artist in any medium at the moment. I’m sure many NC readers will relate to his catalogue.
So…nobody going to mention WaPo’s scoop, the FISA warrant against Rossia Segodnya’s favorite “American economist” talking head, Carter Page. A cautionary tale?–kids, don’t grow up to become an US intelligence officer then get rich trading with inside information about Gazprom and Rosneft. And then bad-mouth US foreign policy on an adversary’s state-run media. And then join a US Presidential campaign. Your former co-workers will throw nothing but security state shade. And politics will become a farce. Then a tragedy. To quote @NeinQuarterly, “My God: dead. My president: pivoting. My weekend: stuck somewhere between quiet desperation and recreational outrage.” [April 7]
String diagrams give me the gripes. So does the idea that the “FISA court” is a court. Secret law is not law.
All this palace intrigue might boil down to violations of a bro code [1st rule of Fight Club…]. Gang colors are for life. CWP was jumped-in. The FISA application is a security organ dumping of some poor shmoe’s books in the school hallway, if those books were full of strategic initiatives and gaseous organo-phosphates.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/12/doughnut-growth-economics-book-economic-model Monbiot came out with this today.
I had that teed up but just couldn’t get to it. Why does it appeal to you?
For one, it talks about limits (not having read the book, though).
I don’t know whether it gets to the part where capitalism – based on constant growth – is simply not a sustainable model for this beautiful, but much battered, Earth.
I have finals for a 1st year Macro course for Bus Admin in 8 days. I dropped the Micro course and switched when in a discussion with the teach he stated the air quality didn’t factor in. The course at times left me in a rage, same with Marketing and Management Principles (doing reasonably well though). After having read NC for quite a few years and having been exposed to the realities through this site, contrasting it with what I am learning in school (though there are some very useful ideas and takeaways through the school) it is fair to say I further detest and loathe the blinded deluded, cynical mentality and thought process within which our society through our economy is run and greatly appreciate any attempt to recalibrate and rethink in an inclusive modeling manner against this fundamentally dishonest and self destructive crap. Quite honestly I rarely feel qualified to comment, but I thought that this in contrast to the modeling I have been exposed to is a breath of fresh air.
Epithets of mass destruction? In an interview with Fox Business Trump calls Assad an “animal.” Meanwhile Spicer says Assad is even worse than Hitler because….oh never mind. How many will die so Trump can swagger for Maria Bartiromo?
Of course swagger is probably all it is but It may be time to get back to work on those fallout shelters we abandoned when Hillary lost the election. The latest signs increasingly suggest that DT has decided to go full neocon. After all he’s starting to talk like Lindsey Graham.
Make that Brian Williams instead of Lindsey.
Trump dazzled by technology widely known about 25 years ago!
Wait until he finds out about cats on the internet!
What is over under in Friedman Units until Trump starts to tell us about his Warcraft character?
$14billion aircraft carriers, maybe with a dozen sitting duck F-35s at $170 million a piece. Versus a few dozen Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, now proven very effective. No published selling price on a Kalibr, but it’s rumored that the Russians are building them using top secret Russian MMT technology.
Russian MMT technology was recently enhanced with Western trade embargos forcing the Russian trade deficit neutral. Russia continues to fine tune Russian patriotism and fear of Motherland Invasion, which has been found to greatly improve productivity which then results in a feedback loop that increase the stable size of MMT adoption.
Nailed it and most people don’t understand what you just wrote, Sad. I’ve read a few times the Kalibar is under 1 million us and now in mass production and can be fitted with different types of war heads. They caught the us military off guard with there 800 mile range. They also use Russia own GPS system so they can’t be stolen in flight.
Russian Military tech is about Patriotism and Honor.
Amerikan Military tech is about Greed.
There is a quote that goes something like this: There is no fortress so strong that money can’t take or capture.
Maybe greed is the way to go…except you have to know which way this two-way sword is swinging.
On April 10, 2014, the US Destroyer Donald Cook, armed with the most technologically advanced Aegis weapons system entered the Black Sea. A flyover by the Russian AF completely disabled all systems, leaving the Cook naked and vulnerable. Little was mentioned in the “captured” MSM about this incident. Wouldn’t want the general public to know that the $trillions spent on weapons systems effectively produced nothing but profits to bribe corruptocrats to keep the wars going. Obviously the Russkies have far more advanced weapons systems than we do, at probably 1/10th the cost.
america spends almost as much money on war (i hate that euphemism ‘defense’) as the rest of the world combined. but when you factor in expensive technological boondoggles that don’t work, expensive contractor and consultant salaries, and other forms fo grift and waste, what’s left is probably still the most formidable fighting force on the planet, but probably less than that of china and russia combined.
Maybe so, but whether you are fighting on the home field or the visitor field is still by far the overriding factor.
Then, experts do point out cruise missiles, and missile tech in general, are the great “leveler” [pun unavoidable] in warfare and the economics of war.
However, if you want to take and “hold” enemy territory you still need a massive number of tanks and troops. Then the transport of all this massively heavy hardware and personnel usually indicate intractable supply line issues.
Then you are back to the original conclusion – defensive positions are winnable, offensive strikes are not.
“…I said we’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq …”
No wonder most of them missed Syria! hahahahahahahahaha
No doodoo – silent.
Xi J. was likely deeply offended (and even prob lost face in China – being upstaged so unexpectedly).
Either very clever on DT’s part (devious) – or so stupid… it’s hard to explain.
And now, China is telling North Korea to shape up.
More loss of face.
And both will get entered into their history ledger.
“One day, when I am the hegemon…”
Unless the KMT retakes China; in that case, they can claim it was CPC’s incompetence, and we should look forward.
Did he actually say Iraq, rather than Syria?
He did, according to the WaPo transcript. Bartiromo then corrected him.
For comparison, her interviewing prince al of the saudi ariabian regime-
Does trump have horses? How many? Are they on camera….
Wait, this isn’t that far removed….This isn’t working.
Could it be that the Cheetoh in chief is actually mid east royalty?
How many children, with how many wives?
This left me flabbergasted, he’s making a claim of Xi’s approval… Xi certainly has got his notice about the psychotic nut case he’s dealing with.
This is satire, right?
What clued me in was the single word question, “Unmanned?” Bartiromo is echoing Lady Macbeth, asking Macbeth, “What, quite unmanned in folly?”
It may be time to get back to work on those fallout shelters we abandoned when Hillary lost the election
No room for a fallout shelter here, but I’m gonna buy one of those construction hard hats our Bro brothers wear and paint in pink.
We have the DTs.
Swagger till we stagger then tumble into collapse.
The Swamp drains Trump:
A hundred years ago WW I was raging, partly driven by mutual defense treaties. NATO is far larger in scope than those early 20th century cross guarantees, teeing up WW III at the slightest local provocation.
With honest accounting, the US spends 4 to 5 percent of GDP on its global military empire. Seventy-two (72) years of permanent warfare have systematically starved its economy of domestic investment, producing an angry citizenry which elected Trump.
They’re gonna be even angrier when they realize Trump rode in to D.C. on the white horse of the False Prophet. Nuke the Swamp.
Trump just signed an executive order saying (my poor paraphrase) certifying that there are no negative effects to Montenegro joining NATO, another thumb in the eye for Putin. A pretty symbolic thumb, since Montenegro’s army is all of 2,000 troops, but just in time for Tillerson’s trip!
This comes after Rand Paul made a very public stink and angered John McCain in a protest against including Montenegro in NATO.
I foresee only great things coming from this!
Tromendooz…former oo-go-slabian province can now attempt to start ww3…just pile on the tow rockets on those donkeys as they scamper up the mountain trails…
“Montenegro’s army is all of 2,000 troops”
However, the country will make a fine NATO military base.
Not to mention the boost to the local economy for infrastructure, “governance”, and consumables spending.
External stimulus spending, whether on infrastructure, cap goods investment, “strengthening the strong arm of gummint”, and welfare programs add to domestic GDP! [always a good thing] Even better if from external sources – it’s like importing hard currency with no export “cost”!!!
Western economists will marvel over this wonderful solution and write many research papers about the benefits of the merger of neocon and neoliberal ideas which result in public-private partnerships like this. Maybe even suggest it as a model to re-vitalize stalled and mopey western economies? Ken Roggoff may even publish a footnoted spreadsheet study showing that the ratio of GDP to public debt is infinite – resulting in 10,000 percent 2nd year GPD growth. Da’ya think?
Just 2 days ago, in Bloomberg, it was reported that, sorry, America, your taxes were not high.
High or not, it is relative…relative to what you get back.
If you’re taxed $1 dollar, and the government doesn’t need that one dollar (not a household) to do anything spending, but spends $2 dollars on you (because it cares), then, you don’t care about that $1 tax.
If you’re taxed 50 cents, and you get nothing back, you perceive that 50 cents to be, er, too high.
Thus, the perception is all about what you get back.
Free health care for all? Nope.
Free safe, drinking water? No.
Free trash pickup? Nada.
Free tax preparation? Forget about it.
This, 1000 times this. And when you don’t get value for your money is one thing, but when your money is forced from you to build weapons and kill innocent people for others’ profit, you know you are living in an empire of evil.
That said, watching Trump pivot so quickly makes me wonder what the “document” is that the put on his desk after a month in office. It has had the same effect on everyone who sits in that office since Eisenhower left.
I’m pretty sure we are all completely ignorant of what is really going on. Chalk up another one for the founders’ opinion of “standing armies.”
That was my answer whispered to my computer and the NSA when I read that article about american tax rates.
“Sure, they may not be high, but I get little from paying them.”
The knives will be out everywhere.
Ha. Thanks for that link. More than 3500 comments. I bet they’re doozies, but am afraid to click due to my old computer not being able to handle it.
A lot of the comments are from Stormtrumpers. Some of them are from Clintonites. Berners and Others hardly appeared able to get a word in edgewise. Then my screen went ” Aw Snap. Error!” So I gave up reading the comments.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.
The Clintons can never fail. They can only be failed.
Delicious. Although I think of “bickering” as a two way street. This describes someone whining at their team because of their own shortcomings.
“the ruddy-cheeked former president rasped. You haven’t figured out how to get Hillary’s core message to the voters. This has been dragging on for months, he thundered, and nothing you’ve done has made a damn bit of difference. Voters want to hear about Hillary’s plans for the economy, and you’re not making that happen. Now, do your damn jobs”
But I thought Bill was supposed to be a super political genius who knew how to connect with voters. I cant wait for this book.
I wonder what they thought Hillary’s message was. Of course, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” is still the overriding factor. Hillary could never articulate a message that would resonate as she was perceived as dishonest. Remember the lesson of the fable wasn’t just “don’t lie,” its hire a new shepherd. Society is built on trust.
Key point from this truly delicious story:
“In her ear the whole time, spurring her on to cast blame on others and never admit to anything, was her husband. Neither Clinton could accept the simple fact that Hillary had hamstrung her own campaign and dealt the most serious blow to her own presidential aspirations.”
While the Clintons certainly deserve the lion’s share of the blame, the anonymous staffers quoted in that book shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily. Losing an election to Donald effin’ Trump was a group effort.
Well . . . I think Candidate Clinton caused some key thin-margin losses in some key states all by herself when she said that when elected, she would put Bill in charge of the “economic recovery plan”. That brought memories of NAFTA/WTO/MFN for China/etc. right back to the front of the mind.
People here remembered Bill’s economic Free Trade Treason Agreements, and understood Candidate Hillary’s promise to give us Economy Czar Bill to mean more Free Trade Treason Agreements. Even the best “anonymous staffers” wouldn’t be able to spin that away.
Memory of Bill aside, its a cop out especially for a do nothing Senator.
Hillary basically said, “math is hard. I’m puttin’ my husband in charge. He’s a man, and my just a girl.”
It’s no different than Shrub’s “I’ll ask my daddy friends.”
This might have been the last straw. Here she clearly announces she has no interest in governing. She just wants to be President.
Haven’t read the article, but a trusted personal connection inside the 2008 Clinton campaign related infighting and disorganization. It had been surprising to me in the recent campaign that we hadn’t heard much about such trouble publicly. Good to know she’s consistent.
Ah…Desert Spring. How lovely!! Where and what kind of flower?
Looks like a verbena, but I’ve no idea of the species.
Looks like somewhere in Arizona in my neighborhood in the Sonoran Desert area – Phoenix area. The flowers are lantanas – very popular out here as is the flowering shrub in the background. Everything including all the different cacti are springing up their flowers right now. Very colorful. Wonderful for the bees and hummingbirds and butterflies.
Lantana is pretty but it’s a non-native invasive plant.
The flower in today’s photo is indigenous verbena
Check out what is happening with Internet in Tennessee:
It’s a disgrace.
USA! USA! is spiraling the drain.
Re. NY’s “free college” program:
One thing that seems striking is the amount of overhead that’s going to be needed to enforce all the requirements and eligibility rules. Is each recipient “a full time student” who is “on track to graduate”? An army of people will have to be paid to check tens of thousands of students. How much other grant and aid money for each recipient needs to be subtracted from the Excelsior grant? Better pay people to send out, and then read, huge disclosure forms, then independently verify the data! And, is everyone who has received money still in the state for the requisite time? How will they know? Parole officer visits? Ankle tracking bracelets? Home visits? NSA surveillance data? What if you live in NY but work in NJ? Is this OK? What if you write software for a CA firm from a PC in New York? Still OK? Can you leave the state for 3 months without getting a $27,000 bill? Better find out!
It seems that much of the program budget is going to be eaten up by a huge coordinator-class component to enforce all the Clinton-esque complexity and absurdity.
What if you live in NY but work in NJ? Is this OK?
What if, with all good intentions, you accept a FIRE industry job in midtown Manhattan … then your employer moves the back office (and you) to Jersey City? Quit and become a janitorial contractor in your former midtown office tower?
In the PRNY [Peoples Republic of New York] a provincial, protectionist mentality prevails. A half century of such policies hasn’t prevented a slow leeching of population from the northeast to the south and west. Remember Kodak, comrades.
Not to mention that New York’s ramshackle, cobbled-together network of SUNY and community colleges has been substandard for decades compared to its peer states in the mid Atlantic and New England. A fresh wave of tuition-free students will worsen rather than improve this unfavorable comparison.
With luck, perhaps the good Travis Kalanick will endow an Uber Professor of Economics chair at SUNY Binghamton.
Cuomo 2020 … for The People!
I’m still trying to understand Andrew Cuomo’s appeal. Why would anyone vote for some elitist, legacy a**hole from New York? Umm, never mind…
The Republican Party is elitist by its nature, so Trump isn’t a big leap.
As for Cuomo, he’s a brat and has behaved as a thug and only been in situations where no one tells him no.
I don’t believe Democrats have come to grips with how important nostalgia was for Hillary or how her supporters were a reduced version from 2008 in the primary. No one will simply inherit her supporters. Cuomo is basically Hillary without the supporters.
Kodak died from a failure to understand and keep up with the mass digitization of photography.
Huh??!!? Kodak’s troubles had nothing whatsoever to do with being headquartered in Rochester, NY.
Re: 1st train from London -> China.
Could this be, ultimately, a major reason behind the US oligarchy driven RUSSIA-all-the-time panic ?
One Belt, One Road taking a small step towards reality and a route that’s immune to the US Navy’s dominance over the main sea lanes, being piracy-proof is just an accidental benefit. It’s – probably – not economic for bulk transport, which will continue to use container ships, but for critical cargoes its going to be far more secure.
The mere fact that when China says its going to do something it just goes ahead and does it *without asking anyone’s permission* must, in the neocon/neolib mindset, be akin to having a raised middle finger shoved in their faces.
Even more than that it implies that Europe and Russia/Asia are going to become ever more tightly integrated so it’ll become increasing difficult to persuade the Euro PTB to indulge in America’s moar-wor-all-the-time insanity. Following this logic the Brexit vote must have been a huge blow to Neocon dreams of total dominance since Aircraft Carrier #1 will no longer be able play its allotted role as EU spoiler-in-chief. They’ll need to ramp up the madness of Poland and the Baltic states instead but, I suspect, Germany would pull on their choke chains as soon as it become apparent that the mighty export engine might stall.
Interesting to see how this plays out as the memories of WWII and its aftermath really begin to fade esp. amongst the younger generation.
Being protected by the two great oceans has, up to now, given the US the illusion of geographic security, difficult to invade – in either direction – over 3000 miles of water. However OBOR shows walls work both ways. Its not US isolationism that’s the problem but the possibility that the US may become isolated … or at least have its powers restricted the two American continents.
If any of this actually pans out I’d hazard a guess that, over the long term, the US $’s dominance would have to be considered at least en prise.
What was the point of Obama’s pivot? The answer is Versailles is infested with neocons. The Silk Road would effectively destroy much of the projection power of the U.S. fleet.
The whole neocon outlook was based on the premise that U.S. wunder weapons will inevitably be countered and traditional metrics of defense such as troops and control of key corridors would be what mattered again. The U.S.’s location means it cant keep up. Look at Vietnam. We couldn’t control Vietnam. If the U.S. is going to maintain dominance, it has to act. Yes, this is the same reasoning the Nazis had for invading Eastern Europe. These various nation states would make agreements to trade in local currencies instead of bothering to exchange dollars and back.
A few key problems.
-Iraq was a disaster
-corruption which maintained support for the neocon project has also made the U.S. army increasingly reliant on a few complex devices to maintain security
-the U.S. army has been engaged in police activity for so long, too many resources have been devoted to better catching random thugs than say fighting the next war.
-the domestic situation
If Russian air defense is practical for export, who loses? The answer is the shareholders of companies building F-35 style monstrosities. If you don’t have interest in conquering, why not just replace the airforce with S-400 and equipped Cessnas or small agile fighters? As this happens, American bases get closed.
The neocons are running out of time, and given Obama backing down when warned by Dempsey, its possible they already have.
One other key problem: The all volunteer military. I’d hazard a guess that a large proportion of those signing up do so not for dreams of military glory or a patriotic urge to defend the Republic but for more prosaic reasons of health care, education, and a steady pay check. At the first sign that the army/navy/air force might get involved in a hot war against a determined and well equipped “enemy” that’s prepared to die in a large numbers for their country this cohort would just evaporate. Leaving only the SEAL wannabes and Blackwater/Xie contractors. Not enough, back to conscription and its Vietnam all over again. I’d say its this has to factor into the military’s caution.
Remember, “the military” is not a Thing. It’s a lot of commands and pieces, driven by budget warfare and personalities and ambitions and a lot of really sophisticated but massively stupid people. All compounded by contractors (that too-polite term) and political actors with their own coteries to service. THIS, if any single thing, is “the military:” https://www.wired.com/2010/09/revealed-pentagons-craziest-powerpoint-slide-ever/
And there’s still this bland “understanding” that “the military knows what it is doing.” And that there are enough officers and senior NCOs who see the idiocy and futility of it all to counter all the incentives and momentum driving toward “full spectrum dominance” through the Great Global Interoperable Network-Centric Babblespace Projectv– cascaded sensors and displays and keyboards, “real-time battlespace management.” What do the colonels do when the helmet-cam on GI #13589271 records the sound of an AK burst, the “oof” from the grunt, and then sweep to a view only of clear sky or the leaves overhead, rolling back and forth a little as the blood pours out and life flees? I guess they double down on their determination to procure better body armor from that contractor that flies them to golf games, and to demand (not out loud) a higher body count of Wogs and Hajjis… And to get to work on the next white paper on counter-insurgency that will finally, once and for all, capture how to defeat (that undefined term in their own DoD dictionary of military terms) 19th-century people on their own land, at the end of a 7,000-mile supply chain…
How does the New Silk Road compare with he Global Warming Ice-Free Northeast Passage (that goes through Russia’s backyard, north of Siberia)?
The latter seems to be more in tune with the Taoist notion of “Wu Wei.” (Here, meaning ‘go with the flow.’)
Probably doing depth soundings as we speak to find the best lanes for the AsiaEurope box ships … and, of course, Canada controls the Northwest passage routes.
Memo to neocon headbangers: First Toronto/Quebec and *then* on to Moscow.
The new Silk Road is vulnerable to Muslim unrest. Why else would the empire of Chaos spend so much money to spread so much chaos?
Trump is reversing on his campaign promises so fast it makes Obama look positively slothful.
NATO, Syria, currency wars … I think now is a good time to start worrying about an about face on the TPP.
A grand betrayal.
Wow. Well that’s it for me. My suspension of disbelief is over.
I was wondering what Trump gave away to China to bring them to the table over North Korea. Without being able to read the WSJ article, I would have to assume this is it.
I’m sure we’ll get some bones from the table right after he pushes the tax cuts through. /sarc Or are the bones we get from tax cuts supposed to be it?
Was he silent on North Korea before the election, or do we count Pyongyang as no betrayal there?
preserving social security
possibly infrastructure as well
uh we might still get a useless border wall?
“Don’t Politicize the Federal Reserve” [Robert Rubin, New York Times].
OK, then how about the Federal Reserve doesn’t politicize the deficit/federal debt? Fed’s Kaplan Warns Trump “US Too Levered To Use Debt For Growth”
Why, whenever I hear or see the name Robert Rubin, do I instantly think of the Bobby Pickett song Monster Mash which I first heard as a Viv Stanshall, Bonzo Dog cover ?:
I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise
He did the mash
He did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
He did the mash
It caught on in a flash
He did the mash
He did the monster mash
From my laboratory in the castle east
To the master bedroom where the vampires feast
The ghouls all came from their humble abodes
To get a jolt from my electrodes
They did the mash
They did the monster mash
The monster mash
It was a graveyard smash
They did the mash
It caught on in a flash
They did the mash
They did the monster mash
The zombies were having fun
The party had just begun
The guests included Wolf Man
Dracula and his son
Pickett’s LP was the first one I purchased as a young teen. It had other ‘wah ooh’ type songs on it, and I enjoyed it loads. But I cannot answer your question w/r/t Rubin. Please give some hints. Is he Boris? Is he Frankie?
Not sure about hints but its the line “The ghouls all came …” that always pops into my head first so maybe I’m thinking of the whole Rubinite cabal.
Although hearing the name Summers brings up “The monster began to rise” which is where this whole thing started back when he was being pushed as the next Fed Chairman.
Concerning Medicare for All, I found the review of Lisabeth Rosenthal’s book An American Sickness or Paying Until it Hurts, interesting. I used to think unless monopolies were broken up, the existing system would break the bank, but am now leaning toward Medicare for All might lead the way in breaking up monopolies. I don’t have a subscription to the New York Times, but for those who do, the following might be of interest:
Let me give an example of Medicare Advantage or insurance supplemental policies carving into Medicare. If you thought a colonoscopy was paid for by Medicare, think again. “If a polyp is found and removed during a colonoscopy, you may have to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor’s services & a copay in a hospital outpatient setting” according to Medicare & You 2017. In my case that also included a payment for the anesthesiologist, since I chose to go with just Medicare (no frills). Funny thing is that most colonoscopies find at least one polyp. Total of $235.00. This may be my bad, but when a person’s monthly S.S. is a net amount of $1,050.00 (after Medicare part B & D are taken out), the frills accumulate.
the speed at which Trump has converted to the swamp, I can’t help but speculate that the MIC/neocon complex has found some dirt/tape on him and is using it to extract its pound of flesh.
there was never, ever any hint that it would be anything but, just like obama. from the start you could see exactly where he was heading based on the people he was surrounding himself with.
That maybe true butI supect it is just that he is fundamentally a weak man who caved to the pressure.
Those Stalenhag pictures are cool. Is there any background or explanation to them?
So Martin O’Malley supports “All Payer”?
What does he think we have today – everybody pays through the nose. What a genius.
If someone debates him and he brings up his brilliant plan, they need to pull out their wallet “I’m used to paying now for health care. So Martin,who am I supposed to give this to?”
Look at the condition he left Maryland in. That’s all you need to know.
I’m still holding out hope that a mischievous sort would “accidentally” call him Mayor Carcetti in some future debate.
M of A on the new dodgy dossier.
Of course the MSM will report none of this. They’ve gone from attacking Trump as the new Hitler to wanting him to be more like Hitler! Poland better watch their back.
A lot of poseurs can be taken to court for violating that trademark.
Only high ranking, elder National Socialists can confirm a genuine incarnation. This gives those elders tremendous power to transition, er, power.
“For the next 20 years, we are in charge. The real rulers, until the kid grows up.”
That kind of arrangement is pretty good for the caretakers.
Oh man, this Jimmy Dore video:
The Dems have freaking nothing. Just platitudes and feel good phrasing. They’re stuck in a corner, because they’re philosophically opposed to any of the socialist, populist policies that would get them votes.
You don’t even have to really pay attention to anything she says, just watch Dore’s face and his reactions. The Democrats don’t need more ‘conversations’ and ‘messaging’.
Wow, that WAS really bad. She wouldn’t say a WORD about policy. He kept asking and she kept avoiding giving an answer.
OMFG ! … I can’t stand these shiny happy plastic people …They … just … don’t … groak how stressed & pissed the public truly is !! All they have to offer are vague feel-good buzz phrases, with no concrete results unless your in ‘the club’….. just ‘believe in us’ … because THEM ! ….
That was brutal. Lots of syntax, very little meaning. Thanks for the link. Dore’s list of policies at the end is so basic, so practical, and so very much what the country needs, and all she could do was stammer about “values based” messaging.
OH MY God! I just watched “Tucker Carlson Show”. I never even watched Fox at all, but lately I’ve been tuning in to them and they seem to be a little more sane than MSNBC. So Tucker just had on…. beat beat… Professor Steven Cohen, the Russia “lefty” Scholar who said, “I am more worried than I have ever been in 40 years that we are in danger of war with Russia…”. I mean, this is Steven Cohen, married to Katrina Vanden Heuvel. Tucker kept asking the Democratic strategist who was one before Cohen, “What’s in in for us to be at war with Russia/”…He couldn’t answer. Truly an out of body experience.
Critic of cop reform in Chicago upsets incumbent president in police union election [ChiTrib]
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of Homan Square.
After vote to kill privacy rules, users try to “pollute” their Web history
Simple efforts, like a browser plugin that does random word searches and follows links, will do little to obscure your “real” activity, but better techniques, based on learning credible, largely innocuous human web browsing patterns and emulating them, are possible. Adoption of these “inject noise” approaches will have a number of interesting effects, including
– driving up overall web traffic, which will impact negatively on ISPs and anyone else snooping, particularly their costs and the quality of the histories they want to sell/analyze,
– driving up bandwith requirements and costs for sites impacted by these “fake views”, and crapifying response times for real users, even to the point of DOS, and
– if done properly, totally screwing with web advertising metrics.
Imagine an app for your phone that runs in the background, and whenever you’re on WiFi or if you have unlimited data, it wanders round the MSM and other infotainment web sites following links and watching pages, videos and ads on your behalf, which you never see. Now imagine that it does this guided by a data service of targets from a free “obfuscation provider” service, whose carefully tuned algorithms use subtle strategies like “this week target Murdoch media and sports pages”. The possibilities are endless. It would be like an opt-in botnet that had no really malicious purpose except to create non-random noise.
Widespread adoption of these kind of strategies would lead to laws being passed against them, but how well did that work for stopping torrent downloading and the like. Anything that screws up advertising will cause shrieks of outrage and accusations of criminality, but a reasonable defense is “My personal assistant is doing research on my behalf”. It also raises the question “when is it illegal to automate activities that are legal” which goes to questions of intent, interpretation of ISP TOSs, enforceability of largely ignored “By using this site you agree…” boilerplate, etc.