Links 12/11/16

Nature. It’s been quite a year.

Bloomberg (DK).

WSJ

WSJ

Bloomberg

FT

Kenneth Rogoff, FT

The Wire (J-LS).

Bloomberg

FT

BBC. “An in-depth, ferocious assessment of Uber’s finances by the Cfdtrade blog concluded that the company was ‘staggeringly unprofitable.'” “Ferocious.” We like ferocious. Take a bow, Hubert!

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Economist (DK).

2016 Post Mortem

Pew Research. Important.

Political Report. Also important.

Matt Yglesias, Vox. Actually worth a read!

Billy Penn. And the judge is not happy.

Heavy

Detroit Free Press

The Week. A bit stale, but a useful bill of particulars.

Politico. Sounds like spreadsheets are going for the Democrats what PowerPoint did for the Pentagon.

Medium. Pre-Russki eruption, but interesting nonetheless.

Roll Call

Politico. “In three major states with a governor’s mansion up for grabs in 2018, a big-name, politically active billionaire or multimillionaire is taking steps toward a run — [Democrat] donors looking to take matters into their own hands after 2016’s gutting losses.”

Politico. Anybody who fulminates against the electoral college who also supported Superdelegates in the Democrat primary should sit down.

Trump Transition

emptywheel. The headline is a bit off, since the post’s subject is really the evidence required to prove the Russian hack. Some of which does exist. That said, this is an excellent summary of the state of play. I take issue with one point:

Crowdstrike reported that GRU also hacked the DNC. As it explains, GRU does this by sending someone something that looks like an email password update, but which instead is a fake site designed to get someone to hand over their password. The reason this claim is strong is because people at the DNC say this happened to them.

First, CrowdStrike is a private security firm, so there’s a high likelihood they’re talking their book, Beltway IT being what it is. Second, a result (DNC got phished) isn’t “strong” proof of a claim (GRU did the phishing). We live in a world where 12-year-olds know how to do email phishing, and a world where professional phishing operations can camouflage themselves as whoever they like. So color me skeptical absent some unpacking on this point. A second post from emptywheel, , is also well worth a read.

WaPo. WaPo this .

The Intercept

Moon of Alabama

FAIR

USA Today

Current Afffairs

WSJ

Handelsblatt Global

WaPo. When the public provision of a service is being ruined, that means it’s a target for privatization.

Buzz. Truly appalling. Must-read.

Common Dreams

McClatchy

Sociological Science

Class Warfare

NYT. Private equity. “Pension funds that pay retirement benefits to public servants now depend on private equity to generate huge returns.” They may “depend” on private equity, but that doesn’t mean private equity delivers; see Yves here, or here, or here.

CEPR

McClatchy

The Courier (DK).

Pro Publica

The Minskys

Los Angeles Times

Ian Welsh (Furzy Mouse).

LRB

Bloomberg. Not π. LIBOR.

Antidote du jour (J-LS):

lion

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

301 comments

  1. UserFriendly

    RE South Korea

    while a mayor who compares himself to Bernie Sanders has surged in opinion polls for the next president

    Bloomberg can’t seem to decide if is more like Sanders or Trump. Anyone have a better take on him?

    1. Ranger Rick

      He wants to be the first trust-buster in decades. Which gives him approximately a snowball’s chance in hell of actually getting elected in a South Korea that basically operates as Samsung’s political arm.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know the situation in Korea, but to have a Korean Trump, they must be experiencing sick and poor Americans who sneak in as illegal immigrants (because their jobs back home at the good old USA have evaporated as the result of some bilateral free trade pact), taking away work, sorry, so sorry, doing work Koreans won’t touch.

      That’s my guess as the necessary condition for a Korean Trump, that and dying Koreans, with decreasing life expectancy.

      Otherwise, there might be similarities, perhaps the same hair color or ing style, but I doubt they are ‘the same.’

      1. Plenue

        On the topic of Americans getting work in Asia, I know of at least four ‘millennials’ who have gone there in search of work. One has spent the last 3 years wandering around Southeast Asia before winding up in China teaching ESL (I ended up helping him set up a virtual private network so he could beat the Great Wall).

  2. Stormcrow

    What’s behind the Russian Hack Propaganda? Two articles worth a read. I apologize if they’ve been posted before.

    What Are The Hearsay Leaks About “Russian Election Hacking” Attempting To Achieve?

    BEHIND CIA”S “REPORT” ON ELECTION: THE SAUDIS

    1. Jim Haygood

      Are we seeing a pattern here? Tillerson — a Putin counterpart and recipient of Russia’s Order of Friendship — to Moscow; Gov Branstad — farmin’ buddy of Premier Xi since the 1980s — to Beijing. And so forth.

      Inside-the-Beltway folk are upset at the overturning of the established order, in which diplomatic posts go to the biggest bundlers, regardless of country knowledge. Lacking titles of nobility here in the Homeland, we need an outlet for the well-connected to purchase a prestigious sinecure and a black diplomatic passport. Otherwise a frightening Revolt of the Affluent could roil our streets.

      Still angling for the Court of St James myself — got any witticisms I could share with the Queen?

      1. griffen

        I say madam, these British delicacies arent that terrible to the palate. Why yes, figgy pudding is a delight!

        1. Marmaduke Muffin-Molester (Bart.)

          Off with his head! That would be “ma’am” (pronounced ‘marm’) if addressed to HM.

      2. timbers

        I’m surprised MSN has not used the headline “Putin Seizes Control of US State Departnent” with off the record anonymous CIA sources explaining he did it to spite Hillary. At the gym today Fake The Nation was on TV. Faces of Henry Kissinger John McCain Chelsea Clinton. Couldn’t hear any dialogue but sure I didn’t miss anything. Haven’t watched TV in years and don’t have cable, the guest lineup doesn’t seem to have change much in decades. Looks like not much has changed. Then again maybe I’m in a Twight Zone espisode and don’t know yet, with everyday being the same as the previous with always the same outcome but pretending everything is new and different.

      3. Clive

        As I said to the Duchess of Cornwall (yes, I actually did say this to her, I am not making this up), when it comes to milk, it’s best if it comes straight from the cow. Her Highness then recounted how, as a girl, she’d get up and milk one of the cows on the family estate and take it directly to the table for breakfast. The Duchess didn’t pass on any anecdotes about what the Queen is into, but what is this, Cfdtrade’s comments section or the want ads in ‘The Lady’ magazine?

        Oh, and try not to spill your beer on the carpet. I find that’s good advice in any situation.

        Could you maybe also bring over one of your famous U.S. size steaks? The corgis would love it. And I always get the distinct impression when interacting with royalty that they care more about their animals than they do about people.

        Hope that helps,

        Clive

        1. BecauseTradition

          And I always get the distinct impression when interacting with royalty that they care more about their animals than they do about people. Clive

          If, in the next world, “many who are first shall be last” is that any surprise?

          Yet “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, …” Proverbs 12:10, so animals are not to be neglected either.

        2. pricklyone

          Ignore that man! If you have spare unused beefsteaks, put them on dry ice and FedEx them to me. I am a carnivore, unlike some here, and I haven’t been able to afford steak for literal years!

      4. uncle tungsten

        The pattern being: oligarchs of a feather gather together.

        Is Trump finally burying the red baiting residue of the 50’s leaving the Democrat’s nutters whining and whinging and looking totally stupid. Wars don’t help oligarchs except as a distraction to cover up their game. Wars with equivalent powers are really stupid and I suspect Trump recognizes that.

        So far it looks like the only swamp that is terrified of being drained is the National Security swamp and the CIA gators in particular. The wailing and gnashing of teeth and the accompanying noise is loud, distracting and annoying.

        Hellary’s purple revolution is being reflected in the faces of her shills in the CIA etc.

    2. bfitz1307

      To me, all that says is how helpful a carbon tax would be. Which is to say, not very helpful at all.

      1. UserFriendly

        Not very helpful is still a little helpful. Which fulfils my yearly quota of optimism. Of course having a Secretary of State in favor of a carbon tax is all manner of irrelevant.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      Like it or not, Tillerson as secretary of “state” makes a fair amount of sense.

      His appointment would acknowledge, pretty overtly, that american foreign “policy” is, always and everywhere, about energy.

      We ignore human rights abuses in saudi arabia and overthrow Gadhafi when he proposes demanding payment for oil in a gold-backed currency. Iraq. Assad must “go” because of a pipeline. A biden boy gets a seat on the board of a Ukranian energy company after a u. s. backed coup. The clinton foundation in Nigeria.

      And that’s just the last decade or so of wars and “threats to american interests.” Maybe it’s time we just got honest about it.

          1. anon

            Except that “energy” should also be about renewables like solar and wind, as well as nuclear fusion: all areas where we’ve cut funding to a trickle and are falling further and further behind our national economic rivals in order to extend the reign of those already invested in fossil fuel.

            1. UserFriendly

              Until we are invading China for their rare earth metals that we need to make batteries which will be essential to transition to renewables than it’s the same difference.

                1. UserFriendly

                  My memory was slightly jumbled. It’s neodymium and dysprosium for permanent magnets that are essential for generators like wind turbines, electric cars, and other renewables.

                2. Isolato

                  Well,

                  The cobalt in Li ion batteries comes from the Congo. Tantalum from there too. Great name, that. Essential in your iPhone. Of course the Congo has essentially been a colony since King Leopold invented it.

              1. uncle tungsten

                If you mean lithium then there is an abundance of it in the Atacama desert. Bolivia is happy for it to be mined AND processed and manufactured into batteries in Bolivia.

                Cobalt is usually needed too and there are many sources of that throughout the world.

                The rare earths for phones and tablets etc are equally available throughout the world and a new mine or two could be opened. Sorry China does not have a monopoly, just an advantage for now.

          2. rd

            China is focused on renewables. This may become a major competitive advantage down the road if they can end up being technology leaders in this as well as being much less reliant on oil from politically unstable regions.

            Energy is:

            Oil and gas (GHG, smog)
            Hydroelectric (renewable)
            Nuclear (non-GHG but major waste issues)
            Coal (GHG, smog, acid rain if not scrubbed)
            Wind (renewable)
            Solar (renewable)
            Tidal and wave (renewable)
            Geothermal (renewable)
            Landfill methane and other biogases (renewable)

            There are probably some others, but they don’t come to mind immediately. Each one of these in the list have very different profiles and cannot be addressed with “one-size-fits-all” policies.

            1. John Parks

              This will exactly be the difference in competitiveness. As their workers continue getting higher wages and increased quality of life the theory was that the jobs would come back when labor costs reached parity, or a close enough approximation to justify hiring workers in the US.
              The difference will be their cost of energy. The Chinese state is willing to create the energy and supply it to their industries to keep them more than competitive in the world market. On the US side, energy costs will rise and rise to satisfy a need for profit. Imagine how competitive US Steel would be, or any comparable energy sucking industry like Google and their monster computer servers, if the state owned utilities provides them energy for free or at real cost.

        1. Jason K noname Fame

          Is it about throttling market access and keeping some sources limited and off-line to keep the price high (and what that means to US bucks and inflation)? Cuba and Haiti reserves have been known for a century, and technology makes other places possible to tap, but London S’cool of Economicists would say there’s only big money in the perception of scarcity.

      1. olga

        Sorry, wrong, KE – it is and has been for many years (probably at least since Woodrow Wilson) about hegemony in support of corporate power. Energy is just a part of it – not small, but not all. Remember – the business of US government is business (or something like that).

  3. semiconscious

    hissy fit, or nervous breakdown? can we all agree that, hands down, the 2016 democrats (along with their media tools) are the biggest ‘bad losers’ for at least the last 70 years of presidential race history?…

    they’ve become the very thing they warned that the ‘not accepting election results’ trump republicans would become. how much do we genuinely owe trump (& wikileaks) for finally exposing these people for the small-minded, spoiled-rotten children they truly are?…

    1. dk

      Republicans can whine just as hard, maybe we’re just so used to it that we discount it. Climate denial and magical markets are at least as great an affront to honesty and reason as Dem whingeing about electoral college gaming (butbutbut… that’s our trick!) and Russkies everywhere (it’s true when we say so!).

      Besides, the HRC&Co just fleeced their donors for $1.2 mil, it would be bad for business if they didn’t make a fuss. ABC: Always Be Closing.

      But you’re right, the Dems manage to sound more juvenile than the Reps. It’s the “compassion”, that little extra resonance form the diaphragm… it means they really care, aww!

      1. ambrit

        Shouldn’t that “fleeced amount” be $1.2 bil? Remember, corrupt officials aren’t cheap anymore, they just act that way.

        1. dk

          durr… yes, $1.2 billion. And I had just looked at the number, too…

          Brad Parscale, Trump’s digital director, credited strategic last-minute investments with helping propel the political newcomer to victory.

          The campaign and the Republican Party spent about $5 million in get-out-the-vote digital advertising targeted in the final few days at Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida.

          It proved critical: Some of those states were won by razor-thin margins.

          “You think, what if we hadn’t spent that?” Parscale said. “We might not have won.”

    2. Moth

      The 2016 Democrats are a dumpster fire for lots of reasons, but anger over the most grotesque candidate in the history of democracy winning the Presidency due to an archaic and anti-democratic mechanism, despite losing the popular vote by millions of votes, seems pretty fair. The problem is they direct that anger toward the wrong things.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t see why it’s fair. What it says to me is that Clinton deployed her campaign resources poorly (possibly due to faulty algorithms in their software, Ada, that nobody seems to have owned up to programming (“defeat is an orphan”)). She never visited Wisconsin, for example; the Mayor of Madison didn’t even get a call.

        So she got excess votes in states that she didn’t need to win, and not enough votes in states that she did need to win. Unless you’re arguing the Clinton campaign didn’t know how the electoral college worked going into the campaign?

        1. sd

          Obama had just under 800 field offices for his 2012 campaign for re-election which in theory would have been an easier campaign than the earlier 2008 election.

          In 2016, Clinton had fewer than 500 field offices and concentrated her efforts to the coasts.

          Given how bad her campaign was run and managed, just imagine how utterly clueless she would have been in running the country.

          1. Baby Gerald

            They made sure to set up an office on Broadway around 105th Street here in Manhattan’s upper west side- precisely where she didn’t have a worry about losing- to either Sanders or Trump.

            For the rent they paid on that storefront they probably could have set up field offices in at least two or three of the states she didn’t win, and paid the staffs in them with the difference.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              A private sector business person would have known that. But she spent almost all of life in government.

              Hot dog vendor*: “I got this area covered. My next branch will be some place I have no business as of now.”

              * could be grade school drop out, or a H1B visa victim with a Ph.D. in programming. No job is too good to make money to his/her family. That’s a noble profession, which is not restricted to hedge fund management.

              1. ambrit

                This is too sweet. There was a short lived 1960s “situation comedy” called “Hank” about a young person who runs a lunch wagon while “dropping in” on college classes to “better himself.” Now the Wheel has come half a turn. The H1bs from South Asia should appreciate the irony completely.
                See:

        2. divadab

          How they ran the campaign is indicative, IMHO, of how they would have run the White House. Looks like we dodged a bullet but got hit with shrapnel.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          Team Clinton didn’t know delegate allocation rules in 2008, so it’s possible they don’t understand the electoral college. If they did, President elect Obama would be bounding around the country right now happily replacing President Romney. I’m assuming Hillary would have lost in 2012.

          1. Vatch

            it’s possible they don’t understand the electoral college.

            I hope you’re joking! High school students who pass their civics class know how the Electoral College works. Hmm, since this is the Clinton people we’re discussing, maybe you really aren’t joking.

        4. Gareth

          I have it from a friend who is in the state assembly in Wisconsin that the local Democrats knew Clinton was in trouble three weeks before the election. They begged the Clinton campaign for more money to get out the vote and for some appearances from her or Obama. In response they got no money and only visits from Biden and Chelsea.

          1. Feelintheberninwi

            Three weeks!! From the beginning of the summer. There was no listening to the people on the ground doing the canvassing. My local assembly candidate’s most heard comment about HRC, “that b-tch.”

            Coupled with the lose of all the young people who were motivated by Bernie being driven away the moment the “coordinated” read HRC staff arrived.

            It was all clearly there if one wanted to look at it….. I canvassed hundreds of doors in a community that solidly voted for Barack Obama. It was evident early on that HRC was not popular. People would want to talk about everyone else on the ballot including Bernie….but not HRC.

        5. Michael

          Ordinary Americans have put up with the Electoral College despite its origin as a power center for slave states because they figured it didn’t matter much. Whether or not you agree with them, that’s why they’re upset now.

            1. tegnost

              yeah I’m pretty ordinary and I think it’s hilarious, and couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of self serving, self important morons. That they consider themselves smarter than the average joe, but now they’re “ordinary americans” just makes it even funnier, and add in all the truck drivers whose jobs they plan to displace with self driving trucks while whinging that those people without jobs won’t get social security so the jobless masses need to vote for social security which they won’t get because they have no job makes it clear that they are stupid beyond words. Next thing michael will say is that trump is going to get rid of welfare too…o wait…so yeah michael, wring your hands until they bleed, tear your hair out til you look like Sevalas, rend your garments until you get picked up for vagrancy and clutch your pearls until they’re dust.
              And for Moth the EC is designed such that population centers can’t dominate the country, and your candidate knew full well that this is the system she was operating in, the russians didn’t sneak the EC in under cover of darkness, and she lost because she and her minions live in a gilded cocoon. Break free little mothy! Direct your passion in a more fruitful manner because right now you’re crying over spilled milk. and remember, there were always going to be winners, and losers.

            2. Michael

              The current mass movement against the EC, populated by literally millions of otherwise complacent folks… yada yada

              I’ll include the appropriate academic qualifiers going forward. Sheesh. :)

              1. integer

                Congratulations on getting through two full sentences (and two non sentences) without loading your words with implicit or explicit bigotry. As for the brainwashed Clinton demonstrators, that’s to be expected after the MSM has conducted, and is stll conducting, an unprecedented psyop on the general population.

                It seems that liberals are particularly vulnerable to this manipulation…

          1. Daryl

            The electoral college exists at this point largely because of inertia; “put up with” implies they have been given any sort of choice as to whether to keep it or get rid of it.

            Now would actually be a wonderful time to start a campaign to get rid of it, but it’s my experience that people won’t get rid of something that they think they can exploit to their advantage. Every gambler has a “system.”

            1. Vatch

              The Electoral College still benefits medium sized and small states. The EC and the Senate help to provide a bulwark against the giants California, New York, Texas, and Florida. Perhaps Illinois and Pennsylvania could be added to that list, which leaves 44 medium or small states. It’s more than inertia blocking the EC, since Article V requires that three quarters of the states ratify any change to the Constitution.

              But there may be a way around this, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact:

              I don’t know how constitutional this is, and it looks like the only endorsers so far are some “blue” states. No “red” states or swing states have endorsed it. In a small number of “red” or swing states, one house of the legislature has passed the relevant bill. As far as I know, Nebraska is the only unicameral state in the U.S., and they haven’t passed it, so passage in a single house is irrelevant.

          2. Propertius

            Try again, Michael: One of the reasons the electoral collage was adopted (as well as the 3/5 compromise) was to limit the power of Virginia (the most populous and wealthiest of the 13 original states).

        6. Moth

          I fully understand how the Electoral College works and that Clinton ran an awful campaign, thanks. I also understand why large portions of the population (including portions of the Democratic/media establishment) are upset that a man who lost the popular vote by several million votes “won”

          Inchoate anger at our broken, anti-democratic electoral system seems perfectly fair to me, not “whining”

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            It’s whining if one refuses to admit one’s own failures and instead blames everyone else. This is the classic symptom of narcissism. Instead of owning up to their mistakes, the Democrat Party is blaming everybody from the Russians to my great-aunt Hattie for sins of omission or commission.

            In a three-year-old, it’s called a tantrum, and that is exactly how they’re coming across to anyone not so blinded by Clinton Cultism and upper-class privilege they’ll argue to the death against the facts.

            1. hunkerdown

              A complex, power-masking game that settles things poorly never really settles them. The error is in assuming that liberals have a special dispensation, let alone competence or welcome, to decide when things are “settled” for other people. I think “tantrum” is liberal-speak for the unwillingness to sacrifice effectiveness for propriety, something that the left would do well to pick up.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why are they upset about a man having fewer votes?

            All the people together in California get 2 senatorial votes, while a much smaller group of Americans in Vermont also get 2 senatorial votes.

            Is that system broken or what?

            Where is the outrage?

            1. Anon

              The decision that gives California (39 million citizens) only two Senators was made long before California was a state (1850). Small (red) states love the arrangement and readily suck federal funds from this 6th largest economy in the world.

              1. Mel

                … rather than be ground to dust, as is happening to Greece, facing the same kind of concentrated power. What is the federal union supposed to be about anyway? Markets or Die?

                1. hunkerdown

                  That was pretty much what the Founders intended. Now those who worship the interests of the dead as received wisdom and sacred obligations are insisting that we keep this awful anachronism going.

          3. grizziz

            Berned your wings getting to close to the flame? Should your inchoate anger be viewed because you expect mercy? Stiffen your spine and get moving to organize your anger and generate change.

        7. Brad

          True about the EC and Clinton, but the (hypothetical) counterargument has been that Republican voters don’t turn out for the Prez in the Big Blue states like California and New York.

          If that can be shown as fact, then Trump’s boast that he would have won a pure popular vote contest anyway might hold some water. What the con-man conveniently neglects to mention is that he would have had to run a rather different political con to pull votes in the major metropolitan areas, one that might not have featured bashing Mexicans as rapists coming out of the gate. Pure popular vote for POTUS would establish the political supremacy of the metropolis over the “country” for the first time in US history, at least in this branch of the Federal government.

          But the point is that the popular vote count as it is, is not to be interpreted as the liberals want, as an “endorsement of Hillary”. That outcome too is likely distorted by the same EC.

          1. wheresOurTeddy

            I’m from CA & I’d have voted differently in a 50-state popular vote winner-take-all contest than I did in this year’s managed pageant.

            2 million more votes, she had! The margin completely consisting of CA, where hundreds of thousands of us know voting for anything but (D) is farting in the wind. Millions more don’t even bother because the one-party fix is so obviously in.

        8. olga

          Correct – let’s not forget, by dissing (is that the word?) Bernie, she alienated the most enthusiastic part of the “D” electorate. It was clear during the convention that her cold shoulder to his supporters would come back to haunt her. But Democrats have had this attitude for a long time – we can ignore our most progressive supporters because they have nowhere to go… That did not seem t o work this time.

        9. jonboinAR

          Really! They knew the rules. Same as they’ve (the rules) been since the founding of *the republic*. Ya think they’d be trying to give the election back had the tables been turned the other way?

      2. kgc

        “losing the popular vote by millions of votes”; turns out that all those millions were from California; Trump won the popular vote for the other 49 states by ~1.4 million. California’s current and presumably final figures, showing 8,753,788 for Clinton and 4,483,810 for Trump, are at . The most recent popular-vote count I found was at and showed 65,737,041 for Clinton vs. 62,896,704 for Trump. May be off somewhat, but probably not enough to affect the conclusion.

        Why is having the result determined solely by California more democratic than having it determined by the Electoral College?

        As I fiercely dislike both of them (voted Sanders/Stein in NY), don’t have an ax to grind here. Just find the popular-vote argument a little baffling.

        1. Anon

          …a popular vote would not have been determined “solely” by California. Take a look at Oregon, Washington State, and many others. Since Californians make up one of every EIGHT U.S. citizens I would think majority rule was about as democratic as one can get, No?

          1. Roger Smith

            No, because majority rule omits the minorities and more specifically, concentration of bodies does not create sustainable representation. The EC creates an even representational value via a mixture of population and congressional apportionment. This system allowed the shunned rust belt (a minority group who needs to “get a life and move on already”) to make their voices heard. That is a much needed feature. The United States is the sum of its parts. It is arrogant, know it all political and social ideaogies that break down solidarity that are the problem.

            1. hunkerdown

              Arrogant know-it-all ideologies like classical liberalism, you mean? I mean, if Americans would shut up about their inner-mind art projects and just obeyed their betters, competed for dollars and sat obediently in church, wouldn’t everything be peaceful and happy again? How much ideological conformity can one safely expect in a nation of this many people without violating accepted personal boundaries and responsibilities? Less than we have at present, I suspect, as hard as the DNC and the Lobby may try to push jingoistic agitprop to solidify their rule. You like China? They’re open.

              The more people one has in a group, the harder both they and the imaginary entity that is group interest to keep them together. Is it possible the US is so highly populated that keeping them together is more trouble than it’s worth for all involved?

              1. Roger Smith

                I had liberalism in mind but I didn’t want to exclude the equally destructive or non-conducive conservative elements. When you start saying “I live in Boston and things are fine, why can’t you manufacturing people just get with it already?” There are problems. Even intra-state, those Bostonites could turn westward and find some of the worst income equality in the country. Or say… calling them irredeemable or deplorable.

                Re: “Worth the Trouble” This is something I have seen Michael Tracey bring up a few times. Maybe. Personally I think we should stick together and work out our problems. A diverse,
                multi-faceted country whose people work to maintain strong solidarity with one another would be much stronger and well off than any individual country,
                but that also ignores the vastly corrupt corporate and political elements playing with and goading citizens to foam at the mouth for their flag
                waiving selfishness. I am not sure we can get past the level of failure present or will ever have the leadership to do so.

            2. Propertius

              get a life and move on already

              Actually, I think the sentiment (as Lambert has pointed out) is really “go die”.

          2. hunkerdown

            Majority rule is not democratic, just competitive, which Americans often conflate with democracy. Every level of indirection, every level of protection provided for officials against the people, in itself cancels the democratic quality of a government. Supermajority rule or consensus government gets us closer to real people power, but as long as the overarching relationship of government is one of subjection to vested, entitled rulers, rather than one of supervision of subordinate, at-will agents, the social harms intrinsic to rule will continue.

          3. kgc

            The problem is, as Roger Smith says and someone (Katherine?) said a few days ago, this version of “democracy” means California is the only state that matters. The other 49 are just along for the ride.

            More important: a pure democracy – add up the votes of the (eligible) voters – easily runs roughshod over the rights, views, happiness and lives of the minority. Has done for a very long time. That’s why we have minority rights, and those were hard-won: remember the police dogs, clubs, murders (including children) in the civil rights battles of the ’60s?

            If California rules, what do you do about rust-belt misery? Or even the misery of those outside the (relatively prosperous) Willamette Valley in my native state of Oregon?

            There may be – probably are – better ways to balance this than the EC. But letting California outweigh all of the other 49 combined doesn’t seem like one of them.

          4. different clue

            No. Because that would be Californian imperialism and colonialism against 2 million square miles worth of low and mid populated states.

      3. ChrisPacific

        I agree the EC is archaic and anti-democratic, but if they had concerns about that then the time to raise them was before the election, not after. If they want to talk about it now, then do it with reference to the next election in four years. Like it or not, it’s the system they agreed to run under. Does anybody seriously believe they wouldn’t be rallying to defend the EC system right now if their candidate had won?

      4. wombat

        Moth- Clearly Trump won “the game” decisively. If the game was to win popular vote, perhaps he would have spent more time in the DNC’s coastal citadels, while HRC would have probably maintained her strategy of dining with the Long Island Elite for months while never venturing into NYC. Few dispute that the Electoral College is antiquated and needs to go, yet no complaints came from DNC/HRC before the election on the “game rules”- of course how could they when super oligarchy delegates shut out Bernie?

        Also jumping to declare Trump the “MOST grotesque candidate in the history of democracy” indicates a lack of historical knowledge- when you have candidates like George Wallace and elected Presidents such as Andrew Jackson forcing the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears against the Supreme Court’s ruling and Harry Truman dropping a second A-Bomb when one may have sufficed (just a couple examples in the U.S, not considering other democracies…ever). Perhaps “most grotesque” based on off-putting words (not actions…yet) may be a little presumptuous.

        1. djrichard

          I dispute that the electoral college is antiquated.

          It’s deal making of representational representation at its best. For similar deal making look at this: . I’ve come across many situations where such logic in deal making is called for. And that’s how you get consensus. Unless you’re Jonathon Winters, lol.

          1. wombat

            Well, perhaps if the electoral college votes were apportioned according to the population rather than the number of senators and representatives. For instance Wyoming has 194K Persons per electoral college per vote, while California has 705K persons per electoral college vote. The disparity in population between states is greater than when the nation was founded. Furthermore I would argue that Senate apportionment is antiquated- Wyoming has 2 Senators for ~500K people while California has 2 Senators for ~39 Million.

      5. alex morfesis

        Taft was probably the most grotesque potus…both inside and out…$hillaristanis should absorb that out of 3000 counties, she took less than 500…not a great candidate…besides…in 2020 or 2024 a female will be elected president…period, end of story…

        As mentioned below by someone…without kalipornication she loses across the board…

        Aaron burr and Lyndon baines johnson tried to turn their powerbase into a dictatorship…

        Despite their best efforts…not much to show for it…lbj…some buildings named after you and a string of drunken babes to keep your liquor warm while ladybird worked to cover up her skunkwerx…

        trump was hardly in the top 100 of developers or property owners in new york…he will muddle along…he might get lucky…but remember…he failed at owning a set of casinos…

        casinos…who can fail at owning a casino…

      6. uncle tungsten

        I reckon that makes Podesta and Mook and Wasserman-Shultz all Russian agents.

        Is Wasserman-Shultz wearing purple too and is she the next candidate for 2020?

    3. UserFriendly

      What is really sad is that Anonymous is doing an infinitely better job reporting the news than any other mainstream site.

      They have been putting out a weekly post and it is usually quite good.

    4. rd

      It is important to realize that the working & middle class shift to Republicans and Trump in this election is not as permanently locked in as the Democrat shift to Nixon in 68 and 72. This as much of a protest vote as anything else and the Republicans looking to effectively try to damage the working and middle class safety net may open up opportunities for the Democrats over the next four years as the working and middle class begin to understand that they voted for people who view their voters as menu items.

      Unfortunately, the House Democrats just yawned and re-elected their House leadership with virtually no changes. So they appear to be comfortable with just holding their coastal Blue state states and are uninterested in retaking the House at some point when the Republicans hand them a platterful of issues.

  4. Chief Bromden

    Greenwald’s take down is another hammer meets nail piece. The CIA are systemic liars. In fact, that’s their job… to move around in the shadows and deceive. They literally lie about everything. They lied about Iran/Contra, torture programs, their propensity for drug smuggling and dealing, infesting the media with agents, imaginary WMDs that launch war and massacre, mass surveillance of citizens, just to name a few.

    They murder, torture, train hired mercenary proxies (who they are often pretending to oppose), stage coups of democratically elected govt.’s, interfere with elections, topple regimes, install ruthless puppet dictators, and generally enslave other nations to western corporate pirates. They are a rogue band of pirates themselves.

    This is the agency who are in secret and anonymity, with no verifiable evidence, whispering rumors in the WaPoo and NYTimes’ ears that the Russians made Hillary lose. What moron would take the CIA at its word anymore? Much less a major newspaper? Did I miss something, is it 1950 again? Methinks I’ve picked up the scent of fake news…

    Conclusion: It isn’t the Russians that are interfering with U.S. kangaroo elections, it’s the professionals over at the CIA.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Apparently, all the morons who are still screaming about Trump, as if he alone will be in charge of the government and not his GOP handlers. Please keep in mind that the ardent Clinton supporters quite clearly reveal cult behavior, and anything that allows them to continue embracing their belief in their righteousness will be embraced without question or qualm.

    2. DJG

      Chief Bromden: My take on Greenwald’s great article is that after years of allowing the national-security state to fester, the national-security state is now making an even bigger mess domestically than it has overseas. And there is plenty of blame to go around, as Ian Walsh’s great post points out: Obama and Obama’s nonchalance about the deteriorating economy and out deteriorating public health contributed to the election of Trump.

      The whole business during the election of how most corruptly to handle Clinton’s e-mail fandango, with the FBI all over the place (and the CIA probably in possession of a copy of all of the e-mail messages, even the ones about yoga) is typical. The corruption was brought right into the public eye, when it would have been better to apply the law and indict her.

      But then someone (several dozen someones) might have to be indicted for torture and people murdered under torture (and murder is a capital crime), which the national-security state has lied about and Obama has lied about and the Senate has dithered about. We have many, many Pinochets here in the U S of A to deal with. (And, evidently, the Chileans are much braver than the world capital of blowhardism.)

      I don’t believe in karma, but if we want to talk karmically, years of building up a national security state, interference in the elections of small countries that just don’t matter like Brazil or Guatemala, and years of hiding torture now add up to this series of witch hunts and panic.

  5. voteforno6

    Re: That supposed Russian interference

    I’ve tried to point out on other blogs just how shaky that story in the Washington Post is, and the response I get is something along the lines of, well, other outlets are also reporting it, so it must be true. It does me no good to point out that this is the same tactic used by the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war. People will believe what they want to believe.

    1. johnnygl

      It may help to point to the history of CIA influence at WaPoo. Counterpunch had a short piece reminding everyone of Operation Mockingbird (going from memory on that name) where CIA had reporters on staff at the paper directly taking orders and simultaneously on CIA payroll.

      If questioned about CIA’s motivation for hating trump, my best guess is that it is because trump is undermining their project to overthrow assad in syria using nusra rebels. And also because trump wants to be nice to russia.

      I think there’s some people in the cia that think they played a major role in winning the cold war through their support for mujahadeen rebels in afghanistan. I suspect they think they can beat putin in syria the same way. This is absolutely nutty.

      1. johnnygl

        Better yet, just send them glenn greenwald’s piece. He crushes it and points out FBI and CIA are at odds here.

        1. Code Name D

          I tried that. Turns out Greenwald is working for the Ruskies. Who knew, right?

          The problem is that the story is driven by the narrative and not by the evidence. Much of my family is pro-Clinton. And they just can not rap their head around why such a superb candidate could lose to an orange haired fascist like Trump. A bunch of solutions was thrown at the wall, but its the Russian angel that sticks.

          And when you think about it, its not hard to imagine why. Most of Clinton supporters are baby-boomers who grew up and came of age during the cold war. So bashing the Russians is a language they are already fluent with.

          1. Susan C

            Not really – I don’t think we grew up “bashing the Russians”. It was much more serious than that. When 10 we had the Cuban Missile Crisis which was very frightening – I remember wondering if they could strike Illinois. We knew what nuclear bombs were and how devastating they were when we were children – many times in grade school we had to run into the hallways in case of an attack. WWII was still fresh on every adult’s mind during that time. If anything, sane Boomers would be more interested in not reliving those days and that could be a reason why Hillary was not viewed as an optimal President since many thought as I understand it that she could trigger a war.

                1. pretzelattack

                  but what we didn’t see was the responsibility our own side had in escalating the conflicts, or see what the cia was doing then–the church committee later addressed some of that. i remember a lot of russia bashing back then; for example the civil rights movement was accused of being fomented and infiltrated by communists, as was the anti war movement during vietnam. i don’t know if boomers are more likely to bash russia now because of that history, though.

                  1. Susan C

                    The anti-war movement? I don’t recall ever hearing or thinking that the anti-war movement was inspired by the Russians/Communists – and I was part of that as a college student during Vietnam. The anti-war movement had more to do – this stemming from my own on the ground observations during that time – that had to do with rebellion against the political order which was having wars that made no sense. It was a way to stop that war. Too many were dying and for what reason? On the news each night we witnessed the horror of the body counts. Was it oil-inspired? There was a hypocrisy in America and young people were on the streets fighting that – just about everyone became united over that – that war had to end. Now you make it sound like the rest of America was home reading or listening to TV that the Russians were behind that upheaval. They weren’t – and people were not bashing the Russians during that time because of the demonstrations – if anything they were bashing the demonstrators. In fact their eyes became opened and they joined the young people politically to stop that war. Yes – that war was a way to stop the Communists from invading the rest of Vietnam. Did people bash Russia over that – it was more likely they thought the Chinese were the ones who were behind it which they were. Now – as for the involvement of the CIA during that time – that I would know nothing about. The anti-war movement was organic. As for Boomers bashing Russia now – yes if the Russians are found to have changed the election results then we will all be bashing Russia for destabilizing this country. Germany too seems to be on this bandwagon.

      2. Sam Adams

        Obviously you haven’t met the over-achieving, all-knowing and exceptional CIA employees. They’re always right. You just need to see the problem properly.

        1. JohnnyGL

          The upside of these overtly political battles among intelligence agencies is that we are eroding away the idea that these are non-partisan institutions without overt political agendas. There’s a large number of people that will see through the facade. Right now, Trump supporters are getting a lesson in how much resistance there can be within the establishment. I’m no Trump supporter, but I think seeing what these institutions are capable of is a useful exercise for all involved.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I’m hoping that as happened when Reagan took office, the resistance within the agencies will include the kind of principled sabot-lodging that happened at the US EPA. The staff that believed in the supposed mission of the agency, protection of health and the environment, staged a pretty effective holding action that kept polluters in some check and led to actual effective legislative oversight by several congressional committees and action against some of the offenders (Anne Gorsuch, Henry Hernandez, Rita Lavelle) by the DoJ. Are there any real regulators left, in any of the agencies?

    2. begob

      There’s a running battle at the wikipedia article on Fake News Website, where propornot is now considered debunked.

      1. Ulysses

        Apologies if this analysis by Robert Parry has already been shared here:

        “What Stengel and various mainstream media outlets appear to be arguing for is the creation of a “Ministry of Truth” managed by mainstream U.S. media outlets and enforced by Google, Facebook and other technology platforms.
        In other words, once these supposedly responsible outlets decide what the “truth” is, then questioning that narrative will earn you “virtual” expulsion from the marketplace of ideas, possibly eliminated via algorithms of major search engines or marked with a special app to warn readers not to believe what you say, a sort of yellow Star of David for the Internet age.
        And then there’s the possibility of more direct (and old-fashioned) government enforcement by launching FBI investigations into media outlets that won’t toe the official line. (All of these “solutions” have been advocated in recent weeks.)
        On the other hand, if you do toe the official line that comes from Stengel’s public diplomacy shop, you stand to get rewarded with government financial support. Stengel disclosed in his interview with Ignatius that his office funds “investigative” journalism projects.
        “How should citizens who want a fact-based world combat this assault on truth?” Ignatius asks, adding: “Stengel has approved State Department programs that teach investigative reporting and empower truth-tellers.”

        The NC lawsuit against WaPo, like the lawsuit of Hedges et al. against provisions of the NDAA, marks a watershed moment for defending free speech in our country! I hope that my oft-expressed belief– that we will soon need to revive samizdat techniques to preserve truth– may turn ou to be overly pessimistic.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s like that quote: When the Clinton tide goes out, you discover who’s been swimming naked.

  6. John Merryman

    In reference to the LIGO article and how the edges of black holes appear more complex than theory has assumed, I’ve long been arguing galaxies and the space around them function as enormous convection cycles, as mass falls in while energy radiates out. The consequence would be that black holes are vortices, which ultimately radiate and eject out the poles everything falling into them, as one side of this cycle. Keep in mind Einstein modeled gravity as focused on the center point of the mass, but obviously the mass is around that center point. So the same would apply to the core of galaxies. They are the eye of the storm and it is what goes on around them that matters. Then the reason space appears flat overall, is because the expanding metric between galaxies is matched by the contracting metric within them, in the cosmic convection cycle.

    What this has to do with current social dynamics is that we evolved in a thermodynamic, convective environment, on which we project this temporal linear narrative, in which everyone rushes faster than everyone else, aka, the rat race. Yet “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Which means we are creating an enormous amount of blowback.
    What dominates current society is the fact the economic circulation system that ties humanity together is still in its incubation stage, much as monarchy was an incubation stage for the nation state. So when we reach the debt implosion, when this system goes supernova, the goal will be to incorporate the financial system as a public function, like roads are a public utility. Then without that stranglehold of a corrupted financial mechanism siphoning all value out of society, so that some of it might trickle down, we can better direct efforts toward making life on this planet somewhat more stable and self correcting. Cycling value throughout the system, like blood in the body, not having it build up in enormous gobs of fat.

    1. Jim Haygood

      America’s military empire is an enormous convection cycle, as money falls in while arms sales and global disorder radiate out.

      Mr Milk Mustache (John Bolton) as assistant Sec State will help perpetuate and accelerate the grand convective cycle.

      1. John Merryman

        Jim,

        Keep in mind the basis of this capitalist economy is Federal debt. They have to spend it on something.
        The government doesn’t even budget, which is to list priorities and spend according to need/ability. They put together these enormous bills, add enough to get the votes, which don’t come cheap and then the prez can only pass or veto.
        If they wanted to actually budget, taking the old line item veto as a template, they could break these bills into all their various items, have each legislator assign a percentage value to each one, put them back together in order of preference and the prez would draw the line. “The buck stops here.”
        That would keep powers separate, with congress prioritizing and the prez individually responsible for deficit spending. It would also totally crash our current “Capitalist” system.
        According to a recent posting on Wolf Street, according to records, the Treasury has borrowed 4 trillion more between 2004-15, than can actually be accounted for in spending. This is because it is the borrowing and thus public obligations, which really matter to the powers that be. The generals just get their toys and wars as icing on the cake. It doesn’t matter if they win, because there would be less war to spend it on. Eventually they will use “public/private partnerships” to take their piles of public obligations and trade for the rest of the Commons.

        Money needs to be understand as a public utility, like roads. We no more own it than we own the section of road we are using. It is like blood, not fat.

    2. John Morrison

      “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

      I despise this statement of Newton’s 3rd Law, precisely because it is taken out of context and used and utterly abused. Newton’s third law refers to force: the force on object A due to object B is equal in magnitude, opposite in direction, to the force on object B due to object A. A statement that parallels the quote above is the following:

      “For every force, there is an equal and opposite counterforce.”

      In electrodynamics, special relativity, and general relativity, Newton’s third law is false.

      “Then the reason space appears flat overall, is because the expanding metric between galaxies is matched by the contracting metric within them, in the cosmic convection cycle.”

      No-no-no-no-no! Space appears flat almost everywhere, because it is almost flat: it has a tiny curvature, and practically all of the tiny curvature can be represented as Newtonian gravity. (Approaching the event horizon of a black hole, the curvature is not so tiny, and Newtonian gravity is inaccurate.) Galaxies simply consist of stars (and gas and dust) moving under the gravity due to the galaxy itself.

        1. John Morrison

          Newton’s third law is equivalent to the conservation of mechanical (mv) momentum. In electrodynamics, the conserved quantity is mechanical momentum electromagnetic (E x B) momentum.

          To hammer the point home: a pulse of light, having traveled a million years, encounters a free electron. It exerts the Lorentz force on the electron, causing it to accelerate. What is the third-law partner of that force?

  7. The Trumpening

    The CIA whinging about a right wing president being installed by a foreign power might just be the greatest self-awareness fail ever!

    1. johnnygl

      LOL at that! You’d think they were afraid trump might turn out to be the next hugo chavez!

      They must really, really love their program to help al qaeda in syria.

    2. Uahsenaa

      There are so many eye-rolling ironies in all this I think my eyeballs might just pop out of their sockets. And the liberals going out of their way to tout the virtues of the CIA… the very same organization that never shied from assassinating or overthrowing a leftwing president/prime minister… it galls. The CIA lies as a matter of course, and now they’re being propped up as the paragons of honesty, simply out of political expediency. Crazy days.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Modern Democrats simply aren’t a political party but fanatics of a professional sports club. If it wasn’t the Russians, it would be referees or Bill Belichick at fault. I’m surprised they aren’t mentioning “Comrade Nader” at all times.

        My guess is donors are annoyed after the 2014 debacle and are having a hard time rationalizing a loss to a reality TV show host with a cameo in Home Alone 2.

        1. David

          Life expectancy is declining in USA USA and the Democrats respond with Russian hacking. I’m sure that’s a big issue in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

      2. arte

        Honestly, I am very worried about the CIA attacking Trump as openly as this. They will have to work for four years with a president that is already openly hostile to them, on the surface it makes no sense to burn all the bridges.

        Man, this year is making a conspiracy theorist out of me…

        1. Aumua

          Hey, maybe it’s a good sign (for Trump) that they’re attacking openly, instead of just covertly putting an end to him.

          I honestly can’t even tell if I’m being sarcastic here.. sigh.

          1. RUKidding

            I think we’re truly past snark, irony & sarcasm here.

            I also found interesting that the CIA is opposing him so openly, but Trump would be well advised to review that Zapruder film just in case.

            The Q is why do the Fibbies like Trump, and why don’t the CIA?

            Mystery…

    3. RUKidding

      No kidding! I don’t know whether to laugh maniacally or run out of the room shrieking. Up is down or something…

      It appears that the Feebs love Trump & hate Hilbot, and the CIA Spooks love Shrillary and hate der Trumper.

      Food fight in in Aisle 5!!

      1. integer

        My impression is that the FBI, while far from honorable due to the ideological ends they spend much of their time enforcing (and the methods that they often use to accomplish those ends), are a legitimate intelligence agency, while the CIA is essentially a criminal gang that operates globally.

      2. The Trumpening

        Clearly the 2016 election could be read as a CIA vs. FBI proxy war. The CIA even openly ran one of their people, Evan McMullin, in an attempt to take votes and even Utah’s Electoral votes away from Trump.

        But the fact that the CIA still lobbing artillery shells even after the election is over could be understood to mean the proxy war is not yet finished. One would then expect a counterattack by the FBI soon — perhaps more damaging information on Hillary, in the run-up to the official Electoral College vote?

  8. allan

    From the Amy Walter post mortem on the race in WI:

    In fact, Trump’s coalition looks remarkably similar to the one that Scott Walker put together in 2014.

    It’s really a shame that Obama didn’t put on those walking shoes lift a finger
    to help the public service unions fight Walker.

    1. Uahsenaa

      Obama in Spartanburg, SC in 2007:

      And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

      And the Dems wonder why the working class feel betrayed.

      Maybe he just couldn’t find a pair of comfy shoes…

      1. ambrit

        A Modern Tragedy; “Obama at Spartanburg.” Shades of Sophocles! The Furies must be preparing a fell doom for him.
        This has to be a follow up to the old classic, “Nixon Agonistes.”
        I am also reminded of the famous scene in “Bern-ette” where a presumptuous and baffled Princess H cries out; “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome populist?” [Exit chased by a beare.]

      2. integer

        Look, I’m sure 0bama put on a comfortable pair of shoes on a daily basis. That was the important part of that statement, right? What a bunch of ungracious voters, always obsessing over every last damn detail. /sarc

  9. dk

    From K. Rogoff on India’s cash conniption:

    “… paper currency has many virtues that will continue into the distant future (including privacy…”

    “high-denomination notes … mainly serve to facilitate tax evasion and crime.”

    Well which is it, virtuous or criminal?

    I’d accuse Rogoff of double-talk, but I don’t think he knows he’s doing it.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Rogoff is a classic Hahhhhhvid technocrat, who wants to “calibrate” the amount and denominations of cash dispensed to the lab rats hoi polloi.

      “300m people have yet to be catalogued” for their biometric data in India, laments Rogoff. How about we “catalog” the modest dimensions of Rogoff’s manhood and publish them for all to see?

      Digital currencies are a high-tech counter to the social squalor of rogoffication, while gold and silver coins are a low-tech fallback.

      1. BecauseTradition

        while gold and silver coins are a low-tech fallback. Jim Haygood

        The purpose of gold and silver coins was to make counterfeiting easy to detect. That purpose is long obsolete though perhaps not in India yet.

        Anyway, we should ALL have the equivalent of convenient accounts at the central bank, same as depository institutions. And since those accounts are inherently risk-free we should abolish government provided deposit insurance too. And since the proper abolition of deposit insurance should require a huge distribution of new fiat equally to all citizens then I suggest we get to thinking about that seriously.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The bad guys might hack into the central bank.

          Empower the hoi polloi – take gold from the 1% and distribute to the 99%.

          That would be a ‘gold standard’ to live on.

          1. Jeotsu

            One theory of the economic revival that happened after the spread of Islam in the 7th century argued that it was the knocking down the the temple and palace doors, seizure of the hoarded gold and silver, and then the minting of that metal into coinage that did the trick. The sudden pulse of liquidity, distributed to the masses, created a vast surge in economic activity. This had a very large role in legitimizing the new foreign-religion-overlords. Easier to accept new bosses when you life has very demonstrably improved.

      2. dk

        Well the deeper irony is that the economy is already bifurcated. That’s the driving force behind what the wonks and pundits call populism. Plutocrats have plundered the general economy and hoard the bulk of the wealth, passing it around amongst themselves. Using electronic transactions of course, credit cards and other banking/investment automation… if billion dollar acquisitions had to be paid for in hard cash, they’d be printing million dollar notes to do it with.

        And Rogoff would formalize that economic forking, so really, his proposal is merely neutral, or would be if he didn’t artificially limit liquidity in the physical currency.

    2. Mel

      See Chuang Tzu’s essay on how you can’t be a successful bandit leader without possessing the great Confucian virtues. Therefore Good is necessary for Evil. Funny old thing, life.

          1. BecauseTradition

            Well, it depends on the definition of evil, which today is used as another word for wickedness. But evil can also mean such things as temporary unpleasantness for the sake of later good – such as disciplining a child.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Bad cop, therefore good cop.

              Someone did the dirty work to vote for Trump, thus stopping Hillary and exposing the drama we are seeing now.

              The good ones are clean. They did not get dirty.

              In this case, because there was bad, we have good guys in a political world without Hillary (largely).

            2. hunkerdown

              For me, evil has always meant the need to elevate oneself over others. Erich Fromm had some good points on the different kinds of authority, here, rational and situational, such as in childrearing, vs. irrational and relational, such as with management. To treat evil as a mere instance of unpleasantness is to destroy the moral value of the comparison, and perhaps even to endorse hedonism as an overriding moral precept.

              1. Phil

                Epicurus and Bentham did not find it at all challenging to endorse hedonism as the foundation of ethics. Thomas Jefferson described himself as an Epicurean. Indeed, the principle that the helpless and innocent should be spared needless suffering is the only moral principle I have ever found to receive universal acceptance among decent people–most of whom cannot, by the way, name a single “universal moral precept” when asked.

                You may find that such a humane foundational principle has no equivalent in moral systems founded on religion: and especially not in any of the warrior monotheisms that arose in the Levant.

    3. Bjornasson

      It is sad that even the CPI(M), India’s only (somewhat) nominally social democratic party has accepted the cashless economy paradigm as a good thing whilst criticizing the demonetization. Give all the subsistence farmers cellphones with digital bank accounts! *slams head on table*
      Also, Kenneth totally stole the “too much too soon” from my article title . Didn’t know I had such distinguished readers.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery from a Hahhhhhvid professor.

        Shoulda service marked it as 2 much 2 soon℠ … along with 2 little 2 late℠

        Et voila … intellectual property ex nihilo!

    4. Vatch

      “high-denomination notes … mainly serve to facilitate tax evasion and crime.”

      Thanks to inflation, most of the so-called high-denomination notes have become either middle denomination or low denomination notes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With inflation, It’s possible that a man can strain or break his back hauling lots of high denomination bills, cross town, in order to see a doctor about his cold.

        And, instead of being told to rest and take aspirin, he ends up spending months in bed.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Maybe OT, but I wonder kind of squeeze dispensing only 20s from the ATMs puts on the local economy. Gotta keep a lot of cash in the till to make change for $2 smoothies.

        1. dk

          I think that’s on-topic… local brick-and-mortar businesses have been fetching the currencies for making change from banks for generations/centuries, that did not somehow impede economic operation or growth.

          It’s not really a problem when liquidity is high at the bottom, or evenly distributed. Think of it as a necessary friction, and even as a fair distribution of that friction

          As profit margins shrink (or are shrunk), at some point of extremely low profit, carrying/making small change could have some relatively significant impact. But many other factors (such as cost of carrying inventory) would still be greater.

          Just because one can identify a point of friction, doesn’t mean that it’s a profound effect in proportion to others. But that’s something worth understanding.

    5. andyb

      A cashless society is the penultimate phase of the global totalitarian control agenda. No different than another control factor called Obamacare. Now if the globalists could only succeed in confiscating all weapons……………….

  10. Felix_47

    RE: Deporting the American Dream
    The study correlates with my experience in a middle class suburb of LA. With five or six earners in a house you could make the payments…..especially during the heyday of Mozilo with a variable rate mortgage or one of those other products. And the brokers, mostly Hispanic, made bank, as did all the others right up to Paulson and the other big New York billionaires. The Times has this paper mentioned in another sob story about immigrants today. The immigrant and poor Mexican and Central American story makes me sob too. I won`t vacation there because I do not want to see it. I see enough of it at home. If we are going to have open borders……which we do de facto…..has anyone thought of just annexing Mexico, Haiti and maybe Cuba…..and offering the natives exactly what they want when they get up here…..social security, medicare, welfare, and maybe a job that pays more than pennies an hour. That way we not only get the poverty stricken and miserable population but we get the land and resources that just might help support them. Haiti would be a great place to build retired baby boomer projects. It is warm and land is cheap. Agriculture is not really much of an option there. The land is eroded and used up…..but retirement homes…..easy. Mexico already produces huge number of products for the US. Whole provinces such as Michoacan have already been deserted as the inhabitants have gone to the US. That way the natives could be organized by the UAW for example. We could introduce environmental standards and employment standards. I doubt there are many Haitians or Mexicans who would turn down US Citizenship. They have very little stake in t heir own countries. Then maybe we could focus on improving our own nation instead of trying to absorb a proportion of the overpopulated, starving billions in the world. Anyway the article you reference rings true…..and many of these folks have left the neighborhood either because of the economy or foreclosure or whatever. I doubt they left the US since there were always a huge number of kids.

    1. arte

      Damn those Russian hacks, polluting our precious bodily fluids and causing incorrect results in the Brexit, Trump, Italy votes. Not to mention Nico Rosberg beating Lewis Hamilton in F1.

      In fact, I suspect Leicester City’s Premier League championship was a test run of the pernicious fluoridated water hacks, weakening the competition at crucial moments.

      What a wild year 2016 was, and it’s not over yet.

  11. Sam Adams

    Re: Wells Fargo Scandal Hits Prudential as Whistle-Blowers Sue
    Anyone else reminded of The Prudential Limited Partnership scandals of the Ball years?
    que ca change….

    1. sd

      Yup. I got caught in the bogus whole life policy fiasco. Fortunately, I had kept everything the original agent had given me. Other people were not so lucky. Almost took down the whole company.

  12. UserFriendly

    That ProPublica piece is brutal. Not only do we have to be the shittest corrupt country in the world but we have to be a safe haven for ever other corrupt politician in the world as long as they have $$. Can someone just make it all end? Please. There needs to be a maximum wealth where anything you earn past it just gets automatically redistributed to the poor.

  13. MikeRW

    RE: Tillerman to State

    XOM has long coveted the Siberian and sub-Arctic oil and Russia deeply needs our technology and capital to develop them. Remember, Russia is a petro state and their economy is highly dependent on hydrocarbons. Also, as one of the great kleptocracies the ruling class, driven by Putin, needs higher oil prices to continue to drive their personal wealth. A major reason Russia seized the Crimea is that there is a very large offshore natural gas reserve that the Ukraine was putting up for bid and it looked like Gazprom wouldn’t get it. A new, major source of natural gas to W. Europe is a direct threat to Russia which uses natural gas for both economic gain and political leverage. As I recall when they were trying to exercise political power in Ukraine they shut down the pipe of gas to them. I do not believe it is an accident that the Glencore investment into Rosneft occurred once Trump won and the prospects for a change in US policy looked possible (probable?). Russia is heavily indebted and any increase in export revenues can only help them. There has been some appreciation in the Ruble since the election. [Though I would expect a cold winter in W. Europe to help them more in the short run than the time it will take to alter US policies.]

    This probably means an end to the US participation in the multi-lateral agreement with Iran, which somewhat helps Russia as it keeps US dollars out and slows the development and export of Iran’s oil. A modest potential bump up in oil prices. I would expect a loosening or end to the sanctions against Russia by Treasury pretty quickly.

    One also has to wonder if the recent agreement by OPEC to cut production was influenced by Trump’s win. It either is a signal by the Saudi’s that they can influence oil prices in the short term, which in this case pushes them up. Though I suspect they will be cautious and keep them below say $80 per barrel for Brent to ensure that there isn’t a resumption of fracking in the US. For all the bluster, fracking is expensive oil and the drop in drilling reflects economics and isn’t a function of regulations.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Best rationale I’ve seen for the Saudis’ sudden willingness to cut and cut some more, is that $80 crude will bolster Aramco’s valuation in the planned 2018 IPO.

      Another factor in pulling off Aramco’s epic IPO will be keeping the global economy out of recession and OECD stock prices bubbly.

      Perhaps the Saudis could give us a hand with that last bit. Dow 22,942!

    2. rd

      Increased ease of drilling and reducing environmental regulation of the process should allow for additional oil and gas production in the US over the next decade. That should keep oil and gas prices low as US shale should fill in reductions of OPEC production. That should diminish Russian and Saudi influence further.

    3. andyb

      I am getting really annoyed that supposedly intelligent posters still cling to the propaganda that Russia “seized” or “invaded” Crimea when, in fact the vast majority of Crimeans are ethnic Russians and that the Russian naval base there has had a constant deployment of several battalions of Russian troops for decades.

      1. integer

        I would urge caution when reading any comments from usernames with the name “mike” in them. I went and found an older comment by MikeRW and it is consistent with a group of disingenuous commenters that all had the name “mike” as part of their username. Essentially this group of commenters were all trying to delegitimize Trump, stigmatize Russia, and create the impression that support for Clinton was overwhelming and the only rational choice, which is consistent with the less-than-honorable goals of certain less-than-honorable groups. While the above comment by MikeRW is fairly moderate, it is consistent with those characteristics.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Is Uber getting too vital to fail?

    Sounds like somebody touched a nerve! Hopefully the NC series will get even more traction and the fact the at Uber is blatantly subsidizing its drivers will become more evident. This practice sounds a lot like what Rockefeller did back in the day, deliberately operating at a loss until the competition withered and died. Nothing an antitrust suit can’t solve.

    Uber really gets my hackles up so I’ll just let off some steam before moving on with the day.

    “There is a fear that once Uber is in a truly dominant position, it will simply raise prices in order to finally balance the books.”

    Well no s**t sherlock. Otherwise investors might as well set their VC cash on fire and they’d get the same return.

    And what the hell is going on here –

    “In Los Angeles, for instance, residents living in some new apartment blocks are given $100 Uber credit in lieu of a place to park.
    In Pinellas County, Florida, local politicians realised that in lightly-populated areas it was cheaper to subsidise Uber journeys by 50% than it was to extend a bus route.”

    If it’s really so much cheaper to use a ride service (and I’m extremely skeptical about that), why not just set up a public ride service?!? We’re talking about an easily replicated app here ferchissakes.

    And Uber Pool –

    “Uber Pool, which groups up riders going in a similar direction, is designed to be more efficient, squeezing in more trips in less time.”

    I used to take cabs in Athens and they would routinely stop even if they already had a fare to see if they could get a 2nd passenger going to the same neighborhood. The passengers would then split the fare getting cheaper rides and the cabbie would make more money overall for the trip. This was 25 years ago – this isn’t exactly a new concept although I have no idea why it never caught on with cabs in the US.
    And then this –

    “For the towns and cities that chose to work with Uber, this could put them in a very difficult situation. Stop paying Uber, and entire parts of town could be suddenly cut off from affordable public transport. Imagine having to worry if the school run was going to be affected by surge pricing.”

    Where to even start with this nonsense? Maybe do whatever the hell it was you did, I don’t know, five whole years ago before Uber was around?!? I really don’t understand how a new app makes people completely lose their minds and forget how they ever lived 10 minutes before said technology was rolled out. It’s not like the entire world was completely sedentary prior to Uber gracing us with their presence.

    Just hop on the bus Gus for crying out loud.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      +++++++

      Stop paying Uber, and entire parts of town could be suddenly cut off from affordable public transport.

      Dear Uber, Blackmail us. PLEASE.

        1. polecat

          “That’ll be 1000 rupees please …. I mean 100 dollars” …. oh wait ??

          What ? …you wanna mean you want a ride for free ???

      1. clinical wasteman

        PUBLIC transport???!!! ‘Fake news’ at its most baroque. Unless ‘stop’ was a typo for ‘keep’. If those ‘parts of town’ have no public transit except ‘private-hire’ cabs with semi-indentured drivers, they don’t have any at all.

    2. Uahsenaa

      re: LA

      The genius–or rather insidiousness of the Uber business model is that it foists so many of the costs onto workers, particularly with regard to maintenance, gas, vehicle depreciation, etc. If the city has a bus service, then they take on all those costs, whereas this way, someone else does. It’s a win win for the neoliberals: workers get squeezed, while municipal budgets and therefore property taxes remain low.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Get this – French “Socialist” ex prime minister Manuel Valls proposes as part of his platform for president the “uberization” of the French economy, ie the subsidization of uber-like business models to reduce unemployment.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      It’s going to be a shock when they have to pronounce the words “President Le Pen”.

    4. Skip Intro

      I hope Pinellas County is also subsidizing smartphones. How do people replace a a $1-2 bus ride with a 50% off uber ride if they don’t have a smartphone? On the bright side, FL will soon be under water.

        1. Skip Intro

          It is snark now, but your vision will soon be revealed as prophetic. In that vein, I expect that passengers will be allowed to row for a small extra fee, or if they are members of a participating gym.

        2. ambrit

          No, it has to be “Coracle!”
          Also, new change making protocol: Fares will now be rounded off to the nearest Hundred Dollars.

          1. integer

            “Coracle” is too close to ““, which is such an awe-inspiring animal that its name should not be associated, even phonetically, with any bs.

            Of course, I do realize you are just joking, but nevertheless…

        1. ambrit

          What? Do you mean to say that Mental Telepathy isn’t one of the Inalienable Rights guaranteed by the Constitution? I don’t Grok it.

    5. rd

      Uber is effectively an unregulated service competing with highly regulated taxis monopolies (fomer monopolies). If taxi regulation drops significantly so that more are allowed on the streets at peak times, then much of Uber’s cost advantage goes away. Their main competitive edge then would be the app itself compared to calling a taxi dispatcher.

    6. oho

      the one thing i forget to rant about during the NC Uber series—-yes, Uber-Lyft are absolutely awful; in my city (and likely yours) taxi regulation is absolutely awful as well—just a different flavor.

      100% regulatory capture by vested interests benefiting medallion owners and lobbyists at the expense of drivers and the public.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        When I first moved to my current location in a fairly small city I looked up a cab company in the phone book and I was surprised when they came with a (somewhat beat up) limo rather than a regular cab. I was riding in style (!) though and the service was decent and I continued to call them.

        Fast forward a while and I noticed that the phone # wasn’t listed in the phone book any more but I had their card and they would keep coming when I called. One time it was a town car rather than a limo and there were a bunch of empties in the back seat when I got in. I didn’t ask but I suspect they might have come from the driver rather than a fare.

        A while later ( but still many years before Uber) I called and was picked up by a guy driving his own SUV that had no meter – the driver just asked for what he figured the ride ought to cost when I got in and gave my destination – so by that point I figured they weren’t even close to being a legitimate licensed business any more and that was the last time I called them.

        Uber seems to have taken that devolution from a legitimate company and turned it into their business model.

  15. jfleni

    RE: How the Democratic Party Lost Its Way.

    Gist of the story: “The Fix is In, Bubba”! Creative incompetence by the jumped-up
    rich and corrupt clowns who really did not want to win lest the hoi poloi demand real results.

  16. UserFriendly

    Schadenfreude with Bite

    Literally the first smart thing I’ve read on trolls. It’s like the entire MSM had no clue what a troll was until Hillary decided to finger wag at the alt right.

    1. B1whois

      In plain English, this is saying that the US is going to start subsidizing journalists, researchers, & even schools who agree with the regime — which, incidentally, will punish & potentially threaten the viability of truly independent media altogether.

      !!!!!!!!!!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        See Sunstein, Cass R. and Vermeule, Adrian, Conspiracy Theories (January 15, 2008). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 199; U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 387. . Page 14:

        Group polarization occurs for reasons that parallel the mechan isms that produce cascades. 42 Informational influences play a larg e role. In any group with some initial inclination, the views of most people in the group will inevitably be skewed in the direction of that inclinati on. As a result of hearing the various arguments, social interactions will lead people toward a more extreme point in line with what group members initially believed. Reputational factors matter as well. People usually want to be perceived favorably by other group members. On ce they hear what others believe, some will adjust their positions at least slightly in the direction of the dominant position. For purposes of understanding the spread of conspiracy theories , it is especially important to note that group polarization is particularly likely, and pa rticularly pronounced, when people have a shared sense of identity and are connected by bonds of solidarity. 43 These are circumstances in which arguments by outsiders, unconnected with the group, will lack much credibility, and fail to have much of an effect in reducing pol arization. As we will explore below, these circumstances imply that direct government rebuttals of the reigning conspiracy theory will prove ineffective; government will instead do best by using various tactics of cognitive infiltration to break up the polarized information cluster from within.

        :

        Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”[1]

        These are Democrats, remember. So whenever you hear somebody from the Democrat nomenklatura yammering about fascism, remember that the groundwork for it was laid on a thoroughly bipartisan basis.

        [1] As shown, for example, in the Podesta email.

        1. olga

          Sibel Edmonnds at Newsbud has an interesting conversation, stating that even the wapoo list may have some “pretend” sites – sites that some may trust because they are on the list, but really have mainstream financiers. Clever

        2. clinical wasteman

          If Sunnstein only “advocates” that, he’s even more disingenuous than I thought: surely he can’t be unaware that they already do it. See Asad Abu Khalil’s Angry Arab News Service (among other sources) for the way Israeli ‘intelligence’ openly hires ‘digital natives’ to do this online; or as far as “real-space groups” go, does the Behavioral Economist recognize the name ‘COINTELPRO’? Not to speak of the long-term UK police infiltrators in Irish republican, environmental (eg. Reclaim the Streets & successors) and anti-racist activist groups. (One link among countless: ). Some of these undercover cops actually had children with their ‘targets’ before disappearing, either back to ‘regular duty’ or lucrative private security work.
          An important thing to remember is that a primary purpose of this sort of infiltration is the ‘snitch jacket’: i.e. to sow deadly mistrust within the targeted groups. The havoc wrought by FBI among the Panthers and the American Indian Movement is probably the best known instance, but the suspicion sinks in everywhere and works all the time. That way the actual infiltrators have done their job even if they’re eventually (or years afterwards, as in the UK cases recently reported) exposed.

        3. different clue

          What’s a good portmanteau word for Democrat nomenklatura? Demokratura? Demoklatura? Something else?

      1. Phil

        Socrates was, actually, a bit of a troll. He hung about in the forum (agora) and asked provocative leading questions that led to long arguments with lots of people involved. Eventually Athens banned him with extreme prejudice.

        And Diogenes, who saw himself as an intellectual heir to Socrates, was even more theatrical in his trolling. Cynicism got a bad name for a reason–it was trollish–but its fundamentals were actually the basis of the most appealing and revolutionary parts of what Jesus was later reported to have said a couple of centuries later.

  17. John Morrison

    From what I know about general relativity and quantum field theory, I wouldn’t really say that the firewall described in Nature’s article really contradicts general relativity at the event horizon. Most likely, the firewall prediction comes from quantum theory of particles applied with the general relativity background curved space-time. In this context, the presence of a firewall would verify the theory, and its absence would disprove the theory.

    Let’s be clear: general relativity only predicts that classical (non-quantum-mechanical) particles are irrevocably trapped inside the event horizon, and must continue inward — because inward is forward in time. At the very least, escaping is moving faster than light. Quantum field theory includes the creation (and destruction) of virtual particles that can travel faster than light. At the lowest energies, a virtual electron-positron pair are created, one temporarily exits the event horizon, emits a real photon, and goes back in to recombine with the other particle — Hawking Radiation.

    At a much higher energy threshold, not only can photons be created outside the event horizon, but real particle-antiparticle pairs. (Or maybe one particle is real, the other is still virtual and must annihilate something with itself.) So the firewall prediction is simply an extension of the Hawking-Radiation prediction.

    Unlike photons, the electrons and positrons would be bound in orbit about the black hole — meaning that most would fly out a tiny distance, then fall back in. They would be replaced by new particles. There would be some equilibrium number of particles surrounding the black hole: the firewall.

    Contrary to the article, if the firewall is a valid prediction from the theory (and it appears to be), then the presence of the firewall confirms both general relativity and quantum electrodynamics, while the firewall’s absence indicates something different and new.

    1. John Morrison

      Another idea occurs to me. Not only would electron-positron pairs be produced, but also electron-neutrino (electron-antineutrino or positron-neutrino) pairs. Some neutrinos might be fast enough to escape the black hole’s gravity overall. So a black hole might emit a steady stream of neutrinos, or possibly a random stream of neutrinos.

      We have absolutely no way of detecting them, unfortunately, as far as I can tell. I suspect their contribution to the overall neutrinos in the universe is infinitesimal.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I think some of your speculations may be investigated sooner than you think. “NASA’s Fermi Telescope Helps Link Cosmic Neutrino to Blazar Blast”, [http://www.technology.org/2016/04/30/nasas-fermi-telescope-helps-link-cosmic-neutrino-to-blazar-blast/] This link isn’t directly related to black holes but it is one a many links about neutrino sensors and telescopes. I recall reading — don’t recall where — there is some hope neutrino telescopes might provide a way to look further into the past nearer the time of the big bang.

        1. John Morrison

          That’s a definite possibility, and a desirable one. All electromagnetic signals from the big bang are limited to the fog of the plasma before the point where electrons and nuclei finally combined to for neutral atoms and molecules. Both primordial neutrinos and primordial gravity waves would have been emitted earlier; detect them, and we observe what the universe was like earlier.

          I’m not sure how easy it would be to distinguish primordial neutrinos from neutrinos traveling throughout our galaxy due to stellar fusion and supernova explosions. But that would be a technical issue.

    2. Dugh

      I wonder if these findings can be explained by rotating black hole dynamics and frame drag, i.e., the effects are generated as the different Kerr metric surfaces merge (ergospheres and event horizons).

  18. Johnny Lunch Box

    Over the years billions in fines are set against companies that commit fraud. WHERE does that money go. The rake (fine) is seldom more then 10% to what we call a court system and the victims seldom see a dime. Little wonder our system is so screwed up.

  19. Steve H.

    : Locked On The Psych Ward

    The head of a psychiatric crisis unit has immense power. To call a judge at 3 a.m., get a 72-hour hold, have the person strapped down and medicated to the degree that any communication with a lawyer is absurd. It is an extra-legal method that can be considered imprisonment and punishment. It becomes dependent entirely on individual judgement of the particular doctor.

    With poetic license, may I say that Batman’s nemesis Scarecrow is a reflection of some (repeat some) real-world villains, who have gravitated to the position the way pedophiles gravitate to day-care facilities. Some of the best people I have met work on psychiatric units, but also some of the worst.

    1. [email protected]

      In Florida, there is also the Baker Act, a 48-hour hold which can be ordered by police. (In practice, the police (the decent ones, anyways) will defer to an EMT to make the call, if available. The hold is for “observation”, which can lead to a 72-hour (or much longer) hold, based solely on the call of the facility’s shrink.

      So a cop can get you in (on a whim), and a diploma can keep you (on a whim). Who needs judges?

    2. Jim Haygood

      In one case that I’m personally familiar with, not only was a man put on 72-hour hold in a city he was transiting through, but also the psychiatric institution made NO effort to his family. This, despite his carrying ID and being coherent enough to inform them of relatives to .

      His brother’s wife tracked him down by methodically phoning every treatment facility in the metro area of 3 million till she located him. HIPAA HIPAA hooray!

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      From the article:

      At Suncoast, said three former employees, admissions decisions were simple. If the person has insurance, why haven’t they been admitted? If they don’t have insurance, why are they still here?

      Fundamentally the problem with all for-profit health care. And present to some degree even in non-profits depending on the culture. This is that managerialism so often discussed at the Health Care Renewal blog.

      Note at their daily “flash” meetings reviewing census, it appears docs are not present, rather the admins inform them who really shouldn’t be “early” discharged (cuz they have more already-approved insurance days).

      Thus substituting the judgements of a bunch of middleman bureaucrats for what was historically determined at a staffing with all treatment professionals including the doctor present.

      And yes, there are wonderful front-line staff – nurses, social workers, techs – who do enormous good (and it is a privilege to do such rewarding work) but then are either burned out/lose their moral compass, not cuz of the patients but rather the administration, or else quit because they are fed up to here with the steady diet of ethical conflicts.

      Again, for-profit healthcare fer ya, folks.

      1. pretzelattack

        the comments were also enlightening. looked like there was at least one company shill on there, too.

  20. Brucie A.

    The New Yorker:

    The news that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Rex Tillerson, the chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil, as his Secretary of State is astonishing on many levels. As an exercise of public diplomacy, it will certainly confirm the assumption of many people around the world that American power is best understood as a raw, neocolonial exercise in securing resources.

    1. rd

      Uh….the people around the world already know that. It is the American public that thinks their policy is focused on spreading democratic values and human rights.

  21. oho

    memo to CIA and Judith Miller: still waiting for Iraqi nukes to be uncovered in Saddam’s Dr. Evil lair somewhere in the Iraqi desert.

    Pretty sure Hitler’s clone army is there too.

      1. begob

        On the dark side of the moon, with a projected return to power in 2018 – there’s a documentary about it

      2. ambrit

        On the edge of Antarctica at some place called “Neu Schwabenland.” The Norwegian government took responsibility for it after the collapse of the Reich on Earth. Now called “New Swabia.”
        The clone army might be anywhere. Operation Paperclip evidently did not bring any Reich geneticists to America after the war. Maybe “The Boys From Brazil” isn’t too far off the mark after all.

  22. Vatch

    Jeez. Instead of demanding hearings on Russian email hacking, the Democrats should demand hearings on Republican gerrymandering and the exclusion of voters from the polls. While they’re at it, they could investigate the electoral fraud that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s win in the Democratic primary. I’m no admirer of Putin, but let’s face it, Americans are the ones who commit election improprieties in America.

    I should point out that gerrymandering doesn’t affect the Presidential general election, with the possible exceptions of Nebraska and Maine, where the Electoral College is split among Congressional districts. Gerrymandering does affect the distribution of parties in the House of Representatives and in state legislatures.

    1. oho

      ‘ Democrats should demand hearings on Republican gerrymandering ‘

      Democrats ignore Republican gerrymandering cuz Republican gerrymandering guarantees easy Democratic reelections (in those Dems already in power).

      Why work to get a Democratic majority (and someone else elected) in all branches of government when it’s just so much easier to sit on your laurels and be the 5-term politician of your home district.

    2. Ignim Brites

      As Phil Burton said to his Democratic colleagues in CA before engineering the 1982 reapportionment: “You are in your mother’s arms”.

    3. Skip Intro

      It is clear that Putin hacked the democratic primary too, since he had to assure that his puppet Trump won the election, which would not happen if he ran against Sanders. The Clinton campaign was infiltrated to the extent that they actually influenced the media to put Trump into the race on the GOP side, then cheated Sanders to all but ensure that Trump was elected.

      1. dk

        Why do we need the invisible hand of Putin to explain the DNC, HRC campaign and MSM ashcanning Sanders in favor of Clinton?

        Should we blame climate disaster on Putin, too? It certainly lets a lot of complicit neoliberals off the hook.

        Please don’t overthink.

        1. Skip Intro

          Are you saying that you don’t think Trump’s victory was engineered by the all-powerful Putin and therefore that Clinton and her campaign were not complicit in the russky plot to take over the U.S.? Why else would the democrats elevate Trump then but such a corrupt, unpopular, incompetent candidate up against him. You can’t seriously believe they wanted to win the election? And what about the downballot races? The DNC gave minimal support to other candidates and, in fact, used the state parties as a shady pass-through to bypass campaign funding laws and siphon more funds to the Clinton campaign. You think an experienced professional like John Podesta really keeps all those incriminating emails protected by the password ‘[email protected]’ then falls for the first phishing email he gets?
          It seems highly implausible that all these cases of blatant stupidity and open corruption were coincidence.

          p.s. Have you had your snarkometer calibrated lately?

          1. dk

            Yeah I pretty much suck at snark.

            But the shady pass-through, that’s not new. Every presidential campaign org tries that every four years. Sometimes the state parties push back, mostly they don’t.

  23. financial matters

    The Basic Income and Job Guarantees are Complementary, not Opposing Policies. The Minskys

    “”Then there’s the other major complaint this would cause — now there is no incentive to work. We have to keep abject poverty as a social option so that people keep working at McDonalds making the McObese, and keep stocking the Wal-Mart shelves so that Wal-Mart can pay starvation wages which in the first place””

    “”let’s guarantee every American access to the necessities: healthy food, shelter, and healthcare.””

    “”Let’s see what happens when everyone has some cash on hand.””

    ———

    I think MMTer Pavlina Tcherneva goes a bit overboard in support of a job guarantee over a basic income. I agree with its importance and that we should definitely have one but would like to see it in conjunction with a basic income. In a recent tweet she pointed out that income was the least important thing people employed under Argentina’s temporary work program liked about their jobs. In order of importance.

    1) I can do something
    2) I work in a good environment
    3) I help the community
    4) I learn
    5) I have an income

    I can see why people may say this but on the other hand I think it’s pretty impractical to take a stance that income is not that important.

    —————-

    I wonder if Trump realizes how easily these ideas could be used to create a more prosperous electorate and a more vibrant economy.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I can see why people may say this but on the other hand I think it’s pretty impractical to take a stance that income is not that important.

      So, (a) you reject data because you have different thoughts, and (b) confuse #5 on the list with “not that important.” In a good job, I would have a similar rank order.

      1. financial matters

        Not an anti-MMT stance and not an anti job-guarantee stance but a stance in favor of income.

        Would definitely like to see more good well paying jobs available.

        But I also think a basic income would help many areas such as reproductive care or giving people a chance to explore other ideas they may have while still being able to get by.

  24. temporal

    The email saga lost a provable set of sources a long time ago. Before the files were given to Wikileaks it was already too late to determine which people did it. So-called forensic evidence of these computers only tell us that investigators either found evidence of a past compromise or that people want us to believe they did. Since the compromise was determined after the fact, the people with access could have done anything to the computers, including leave a false trail.

    The core problem is that since security for all of these machines, including the DNC’s email server and most likely many of those from Team R, was nearly non-existent nearly nothing useful can be determined. The time to learn something about a remote attacker, when it’s possible at all, is while the machine is being attacked – assuming it has never been compromised before. If the attacker’s machine has also been compromised then you know pretty much nothing unless you can get access to it.

    As far as physical access protection goes. If the machine has been left on and unattended or is not completely encrypted then the only thing that might help is a 24 hour surveillance camera pointed at the machine.

    Forensic evidence in compromised computers is significantly less reliable than DNA and hair samples. It’s much too easy for investigators to frame another party by twiddling some bits. Anyone that thinks that even well intentioned physical crime investigators have never gotten convictions with bad or manipulated evidence has been watching and believing way too many crime oriented mysteries. “Blindspot” is not a documentary.

    As for projecting behaviors on a country by calling it a “state action”, Russia or otherwise, implying that there is no difference between independent and government sponsored actions, that is just silly.

      1. tgs

        The Murray post is an interesting read. So are these posts by a guy named Larry Johnson who has apparently worked with the CIA.

  25. Kim Kaufman

    From Harvey Wasserman (who is working on the recounts along with his partner, Bob Fitrakis):

    Ask Electoral College Not to Vote Until Russian Hacks of 2016 Election to Help Donald Trump Are Fully Investigated

    Petition by harvey wasserman

    To be delivered to Electoral College Electors, All Electors

    We ask all Electoral College Electors not to vote on the presidency until CIA and other official investigations into the Russian government’s hacking of our 2016 election on behalf of Donald Trump are fully completed and made public.

    1. djrichard

      They know the risk of going down this path: it would recast “if voting really mattered, it would be illegal” to “when voting really mattered, it was rendered moot.” But of course, in the eyes of the losers, it’s worth it. In their minds, “We’re not doing this because we lost. We’re doing this to preserve the credibility of our system!”

      Really it’s more along the lines of the US in Vietnam, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it”. They’re more than willing to destroy the credibility of voting.

      I guess fair is fair. When I went all in on Trump I was doing so with the mind-set that we needed to destroy the Democratic party and the GOP party. Obviously, both those parties are more than willing to escalate the stakes; they’re potentially not going to go without taking the whole shebang down.

    2. Foppe

      aka the ‘Obama for 3rd term’-petition. Bush v Gore on steroids. It will be bizarre to encounter Ds in 2032 who are still sulking over this.

  26. allan

    In the aftermath of Vietnam, the US military got out of the body count business … oh, wait:

    [AP]

    Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition forces have killed or gravely wounded more than 2,000 Islamic State fighters in the battle for Mosul since October, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Sunday.

    Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters there are still an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 IS fighters defending Mosul. He applauded the efforts of Iraqi security forces, who began their offensive on Oct. 17 in what has been billed a decisive phase of the anti-IS fight. …

    US officials have declined to say how many Iraqi government troops have been killed in the Mosul fight. …

    So, DoD is announcing figures that we don’t know for certain and not giving out those that we do. Got it.
    Total victory is only a Friedman unit away.

  27. Eleanor Rigby

    I just sent another small donation. I started reading NC in 2013 when the Obama/Syria hysteria was confusing the heck out of me.

    I am so grateful to be able to follow the threads of current events, and have some idea of what is going on behind the scenes. This site has been invaluable. I do what I can to support. Keep it up!

  28. Brad

    “Is Uber getting too vital to fail? BBC. “An in-depth, ferocious assessment of Uber’s finances by the Cfdtrade blog concluded that the company was ‘staggeringly unprofitable.’” “Ferocious.” We like ferocious. Take a bow, H-uber-t!”

    Uber is best seen as a case of contemporary primitive accumulation, not productive capitalist accumulation. Hence showing a standard profit is irrelevant. Its product is a consumer service, after all, and it is a product that s off the detritus of decaying capitalism in the exploitation of the underemployed. Basically underemployed households contract out in what amounts to outsourced reproduction of the household to other households who consume the service rather than maintain and drive their own car. Consumer, not capitalist, households. That’s how Uber can survive and prosper without showing a profit.

    This is an attribute shared by such as AirBnB, Ebay and until recently perhaps, Amazon. All operate in the secondary market for used commodities, rather than the production of new value, with the productive aspect lying only in the transport, where until recently Amazon only provided the warehousing (“fulfillment centers”, the only real productive, profit-making activity by Amazon). I’m excluding Amazon’s AWS cloud computing IT business, which is a different but not entirely unrelated case, since cloud computing originated in the contracting out of sur data center computing capacity.

    It is all essentially parasitic economics with the productive aspects a side effect, since these all off the sursing of labor and the subsequent need by consumer households to contract out what was formerly partially consumed and retained in-house.

  29. Toolate

    The most likely explanation for the whole leaks narrative is misdirection IMO. Keep people focused on meaningless news while the raping and pillaging can proceed at an accelerated rate.

  30. neo-realist

    So that explains the two hour wait I was quoted upon going to a SS Office a month or so ago to get an earnings statement (did not have the time to spare at the time and left)—tried to get one online as advised, but even though I answered questions correctly about my identity, I could not answer questions about some loans I supposedly had but didn’t recall having and was told by an SS operator I had to go to the office to get a code that I could enter online to get the statement.

    Yes, this smells like a precursor to elimination and privatization.

    1. ambrit

      As I discovered to my disgust, some Federal departments now use Credit Reporting Agencies to identify “clients.” I had a hold on my profile at one of the CRAs and was thus denied access to my government file online. Even now I find that confusing just to imagine.
      So, a Public Private partnership in the State realm is what now? A Pro Social Looting Paradigm? Has “Social” been redefined through the magic of ‘Newspeak’ to mean something proprietary to business now instead of to the populace, as it was in days of yore?
      Pissing off the Old Folks is a danger fraught enterprise. The Geezers are not just a demographic. They are a compendium of demographics of a certain sort. There are a lot of them, and they vote. Link them up with the working (for less) classes, and one has a potentially dominant political force. United Front is the Way.

      1. anon

        RE: SS crapification
        I filed for regular benefits, 64 yo on July 15. Still have not received notice of award, no deposit in checking account. Called service number a couple of times, about 1 hour wait or more, and they have absolutely no information if you are an applicant but not awarded the benefit. Guess I will go down to the office eventually, another 1 hour wait, and bet they also have zero information why processing the award is taking so long. Guess people can eat catfood waiting around after working a long career.

        1. ambrit

          Don’t do as I did last year and present a laminated Social Security card to any State functionary. I still have my original, seventh grade card, which the school thoughtfully laminated so as to preserve it from the tender ministrations of grade school children. Now, Social Security cards cannot be laminated or sealed away. They must be pristine paper. I had to apply for a replacement, in person because of the document requirements, and wait for a week while my “new” copy of my Social Security card was mailed to me. So, a tedious and time consuming paper chase culminated in a very insecure indirect provision of “the goods.” What a country, what a world.

  31. Lambert Strether Post author

    NYT

    “To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions — wow,” said Michael V. Hayden, who was the director of the N.S.A. and later the C.I.A. under President George W. Bush.

    Unfortunately for us all, Michael Hayden is a , a , and a . That is to say, Hayden is a fully paid-up member of The Blob.

    I’d laugh at the goodthinking liberals going all in for the CIA as truthteller if I weren’t vomiting into the bucket I keep beside me at all times, these days. Looking on the bright side, I feel wonderfully clarified afterwards!

    1. ambrit

      I assume that you’re working indoors during the winter season, hence, the bucket. (Would ‘crock’ be a better descriptor?) During the balmy days why not designate an acid soil liking plant as the “bile and spleen” receptor? This combines stewardship of nature with the stewardship of public integrity. What’s not to, if not like, then at least appreciate? May I suggest some variety of azalea? They love acid soils. So do blueberries. A food forest in the making!
      See:
      This would give an entirely new twist to “recycled news.”

      1. Vatch

        Blueberries are very nutritious and they taste good! They contain , which is similar to . Ergo, Michael Hayden can help to improve your health!

        1. ambrit

          Yay blueberries! We had some planted on a small slope facing the gravel road we lived on just south of Bogalusa, Louisiana, some years ago. After Katrina we checked on the olde home steade, and found that a road maintenance crew from the Parish had dug them up with a backhoe and carried them off to their homes. When I complained, I was told by the Superintendent of Roads that the plants had been on the road right of way, not inside our property line, and thus, fair game! The Sheriff’s Department would not touch the complaint with a ten foot bagmans’ pole. (The poles with the hook on the end. They make it easy to conduct “business” at ‘arms length.’) Yet another reason to be “noncompliant” with local government whenever possible.
          Your last sentence made me associate Ergot and Michael Hayden! A match made in Gitmo! Both are associated with Delusional States within States.
          See:

    2. Baby Gerald

      This is the new chapter in the narrative- now Trump doesn’t ‘take seriously’ the clowns who’ve repeatedly lied about just about everything over the last four decades that the big bad Russkies tampered with the elections.

      Add to this the ‘he doesn’t take daily intelligence briefings’ bit, and the bipartisan effort to paint the man as unfit for office continues apace.

    3. no one

      I’m with Trump on this one. To imagine that Putin knows the US Electoral College system so well that he could engineer Trump’s victory despite Hillary’s winning the popular vote: either it’s totally laughable or terrifying that a foreigner knows our system better than the Hillary campaign evidently did.

      1. pretzelattack

        must have engineered the clinton campaign screwing up too, spending so much money in states she was already winning, and not even visiting crucial states in play. dws is a russian agent!

  32. Brad

    It’s official. We have now entered the most toxic political environment since the 1970’s, and I remember the Nixon years. Only now the liberals have gone full psycho.

    The strategic split in the US ruling class is over who to go after first: Russia or China/Iran. The Clinton Democrats want to contain China/Iran and focus on Russia, seen as weaker than China but more important than Iran (indeed a key to final solution of the Iranian question). But back off in the Middle East, since the solution there lies in Moscow. Since this only drives Russia closer to the other two, their strategic aim must be the complete dissolution of the Russian Federation as a state. This then strategically weakens China (even if some of the Siberian fragments gravitate toward it). It is really picking up where Bill Clinton left off with Yeltsin.

    The outlier faction that is forming around Trump wants to focus immediately on 1) Iran, then 2) China, this always the strategic threat over the long duree. To prep Iran, they not only must “pivot away” from Russia, but must take up Putin’s 2010 proposal for a Great White Confederacy from DC to Moscow with the Euros in-between. This is the road I mistakenly thought the US would take in the 1990’s. But it is the basis for the reactionary politics of both Trump and Putin (and Bannon and Dugin). Their co-authored book would be “How the Russians Saved Western Civilization”.

    The Clinton approach is clearly more dangerous in the short run, the Trump approach in the longer run. But (an isolated) China can be strangled by economic means, but Russia only by political means, since its economic basis is resource extraction, in which it is largely self-sufficient.

    As an aside, i wouldn’t read too much into the Israeli connection, as there is also the question of where the Saudis fit into all of this, especially given the heavy energy sector loading of the Trump Admin.

    1. integer

      As an aside, i wouldn’t read too much into the Israeli connection, as there is also the question of where the Saudis fit into all of this, especially given the heavy energy sector loading of the Trump Admin.

      No need to read too much into it when one can just read Wikileaks.

      1. integer

        Also, ‘s emails have some pretty interesting content wrt Israel.

        As I have mentioned previously, he is clearly not the brightest of sparks.
        Hahaha.

        (If anyone is wondering about the commas, it seems to be one of lame Haim’s idio[t]syncracies that bubbles to the surface when he emails from his mobile phone.)

  33. Oregoncharles

    From , a sidebar to the Pew article listed:
    ” A similar partisan gap is evident over the least popular provision of the ACA, its requirement that nearly all Americans should have health insurance or risk being fined: 57% of Democrats have a favorable opinion of this, compared with 30% of independents and just 21% of Republicans.”

    So which is the more authoritarian position? (Personally, I think the Mandate is clearly unconstitutional, despite the Supremes’ rather contorted decision.)

  34. oho

    dozens tragically killed in incidents in Istanbul + Nigeria + Cairo but talking about great-grandma’s racist trinkets is more important.

    “real news’ peddler NYT can’t be bother to go off script.

  35. Plenue

    Syraqistan:

    ISIS launched a huge offensive in the east, retaking Palmyra (the city with the ancient ruins) from the SAA. I think we may have just found out where the fighters fleeing Mosul went.

    On the side, another district of East Aleppo has been cleared.

    1. integer

      I think we may have just found out where the fighters fleeing Mosul went.

      Three cheers for the CIA, Saudi “royalty”, and the Mossad!!!
      What an absolute clusterfuck they have created in the Middle East.

  36. robnume

    Amazon workers sleeping in tents: Thanks for this piece, Lambert. It reaffirms my decision to cancel my Amazon account, although I did so for other reasons: namely the WaPo article targeting legitimate news sites as propaganda “machines” for the Russians. If I followed the Post’s lead I would literally have nothing to read everyday. At my age, I feel that I can sniff out propaganda far better than anyone working for WaPo. We must stop these neolibcons using what means we can, as individuals. I chose to cancel my Amazon account to send a message to Mr. “Bozos.” Hope that misspelling doesn’t get me kicked off the site.

  37. AnnieB

    The Counter-propaganda H.R. 5181 bill passed the Senate on Dec 8 as part of the NDAA. I tried to find a mainstream news story about it today but failed.
    Here’s an announcement from one of the sponsors Rob Portman senator from Ohio.

    “The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques.”

    I hope that NC will post more links on this as they become available.

  38. ewmayer

    o “LIGO black hole echoes hint at general-relativity breakdown Nature. It’s been quite a year.” — This sort of first-hint eeds to taken with a huge grain of salt. Remember the ‘discovery’ in the late 1990s based on a survey of distant Type 1a “standard candle” supernovae that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate? The one that earned the researchers a Nobel prize 5 years ago? Cf. the 10/21 phys.org piece “The universe is expanding at an accelerating rate—or is it?” Or the “exotic new particle discovered at CERN” earlier this year? The one hat led to a tsunami of ~500 papes posted to arVix within weeks? Since debunked. In te present case, the ‘evidence’ appears even more tenuos. And it’s a well-known bias that when presented with data which are not instantly explainable by known physics, physicists tend to leap at the most exotic possible explanations. New physics is ‘sexy’, basically.

    o “India’s cash bonfire is too much, too soon Kenneth Rogoff, FT” — Didn’t read, no desire to jump through websearch hoops just to read the latest MSFM establishment propaganda. But note the headline hints that Mr. Spreadsheet is fie with “demonetization done right”. The better to ram that Panopticon scanning of every financial transaction and those crooked-bank-subsidizing NIRPs down your throats, my pretties!

    1. integer

      This sort of first-hint [n]eeds to taken with a huge grain of salt… 500 pape[r]s posted to arVix within weeks

      I agree with this. Too many physicists (or academics in general) are caught up in the academic world and are trying to make a name for themselves. This dynamic creates a clear conflict of interest between ego/self-interest and intellectual rigor/honesty. Much better to just go about expanding one’s knowledge in areas of personal interest by one’s self and stay out of the toxicity of the academic world imo. This approach takes the pressure to stay relevant in the academic bubble out of the equation and also frees one up to try to live a life that does not require the aquisition of academic fame to seem meaningful.

      Of course this is not to say people should not engage in formal education, just that there are diminishing returns once one learns to learn on their own.

      1. integer

        …just that there are diminishing returns to be had from remaining in the academic bubble once one learns to learn on their own.

  39. YY

    Toppling governments (foreign) is CIA’s bread and butter. Fighting ghosts of international communism that occur in and around the same areas as before, like memories of stuck traffic that persist hours after the wreck on the highway, is also something that keeps the organization going. Trump seems pretty genuine about no more regime change and burying of hatchet about the soviets. There is job security at stake now. If on top of this Trump decides to account for post election sabotage by them (why do they keep digging?), these guys are in long term trouble. Are these clowns that competent so as to avoid that?

    1. uncle tungsten

      The CIA automatically responds to disobedient heads of state that refuse to take them seriously. They have a well rewarded history and have never been punished for these tactics.
      First they spread fake news to ‘authentic’ news publishers. Check!
      Second they create ‘opposition unrest’ and demonstrations. Check!
      Third they influence elections and when they fail to get their preferred candidate elected, they cast doubt on the process and allege election rigging. Check!
      Fourth they undermine the elected candidate on the run up to their inauguration by methods including ‘foreign influence by well known enemy state’ tag. Check!
      Fifth they lay the groundwork for a ‘color’ rebellion. Check! (purple this time).
      Sixth and so on up to ten: remove the elected president by the most effective brutal method. (They failed in Cuba!)

      They can’t resist the automaton response!

  40. SammySnake

    In an interview with Fox News Trump stated that no one really knows if climate change is real.

    His pick for the EPA is a denialist. There looks to be a witch-hunt going on in the Energy Dept against people who accept the scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change.

    I wonder if the abject fools who voted for trump have kids and grandkids.

    1. Karl Kolchack

      I’d be quicker to condemn the Trump voters if the only “real” alternative wasn’t almost equally disastrous. Obama’s “answer” was the Paris Agreement, with no enforcement mechanisms and targets set far enough into the future that no current world “leader” need worry about being held accountable for not meeting them.

      1. Cry Shop

        Bingo. Obama (and his Sec. of Interior, ex Mobil-Exxon, Sally Jewell) have done more to liberate natural gas/methane – green house gasses with 30-40 times the potency of C02, than all of the work of the past administrations, particularly in weakening methane release controls and regulations, all the while publicly saying he was supporting reductions. With Obama (and Clinton) one finds the best thing to expect is the opposite of what they say in public, that their donors and friendships reveal much more about their behavior.



    2. hunkerdown

      In a way, Tillerson was the compromise candidate. From my understanding of the bright people over at The Oil Drum, Exxon was so embarrassed by the Valdez incident that the company instituted an obsessive safety culture that was as close to “” as I’ve ever heard out of a public stock corporation. (Shorter: Safety isn’t a priority at Exxon. Priorities can be rearranged. Safety’s a requirement.) The prominence of such a safety culture in any undersea drilling operation would be a vast improvement in risk management vis-a-vis, say, BP running the show, if indeed (as the squares assume and keep saying) Business Must Be Done and Fossil Hydrocarbons Must Be Mined And Burned.

      It would be particularly cute if, in his Cabinetary capacity, Tillerson were to impose XOM’s offshore safety standards on the rest of the industry such that few companies other than XOM could hack it, in particular kicking the Macondo Anacondos in their perfectly manicured, incorrigibly perfidious teeth. Not counting on it, but perhaps a hush puppy to the proponents of corporate self-actualization, in the form of “a stand-off, a Mexican stand-off, if you will, you lose your money but you keep your life!” could supply some rope for them to haggle over. Doesn’t everyone love skin in the game? Oligopolies can be tightened to public ends. Imagine if AT&T hadn’t gotten greedy.

      Anyway, the upshot is that we burn it and not spill it. “Cold” comfort, but there it is.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        That’s interesting, although it doesn’t change Exxon’s past history of funding denialists (I don’t know if they still do it).

        You do identify a key issue about strong safety and environmental regulations. In a past life, as a consultant to various big operators in the construction and waste industry, I found that there was a constant conflict between the ideological impulse of major companies to fight regulation, and the rational calculation of many dominant companies that tight regulations benefit them significantly. Strong safety, worker and environmental regulations are always more onerous on smaller operators than major companies, and can have a major role in cementing big operators into commanding market positions. I’ve talked to senior management in major companies who recognise that argument intellectually, but still instinctively fall back on anti-regulation rants as an ideological reflex.

        With oil, I’ve often wondered about the short sighted stupidity of the Oil Majors in backing Cheneys deregulation of the oil industry. You would only need a basic grasp of oil business economics to predict that this would lead to a proliferation of small operators investing in unconventional oil sources, which could eventually threaten the profitability of the majors. And this is exactly what happened with tight oil fracking.

        So just maybe this Exxon guy (I admit to knowing nothing about him) may be both more enlightened and realise that tighter regulation actually favours his own sector. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

  41. dk

    Looking beyond the WaPo narrative, in which Russia is the ultimate baddie because they just are, one may be missing the bigger picture. Socially conservative extremism occurs independent of national contexts. It’s presence can be, and often is, completely independent of specifically Russian influence.

    In that context WaPo is being another useful idiot, obscuring and distracting from more significant patterns of a socially conservative extremism making headway on many fronts.

    When Russia (for example) benefits in some way from a particular outcome, it doesn’t automatically mean that:
    1) Russia is directly and primarily responsible for the (or all) outcomes.
    2) Russia dominates and controls all other actors contributing to the outcome.
    3) Russia’s benefit is the most/only significant aspect of the outcome

    The benefit to this or that political interest, be it a nation or a corporation or cultural group, is secondary to the various personal pursuits for power/influence of actors such as Trump, Clinton, Comey, McConnell, etc.

    More important are the common and various ideological goals of these people. Nations (and even corporations) may promote ideologies to further their interests, that doesn’t mean that those ideologies are their primary goals. The nominally pro-democracy US has no problem supporting repressive non-/anti-democratic governments when it suits their geopolitical ends, or the economic goals of their political donor constituencies.

    This guy Christopher Stroop says some interesting things:

    Stroop writes mainly about religious conservatism (in and beyond Russia), but his recent (and I assume, ) activity examines Trump-related events in the context of social/religious conservative extremism, and raises alarms about Trump in the context of that extremism, rather than as a purely pro-/anti-Russian issue.


    I’m not on and can’t see material there:

    Not saying Stroop is right about everything, but his approach is more compelling (to me) than Dem/Rep or US/Russia binaries.

    I prefer the term “social conservative extremism” to “fascism” because (lowercase “f”) fascism is a method (pattern) not limited to conservatism, it can be used to promote/enforce any particular interest/agenda. Little “f” fascism centralizes power and promotes uniformity across regions. It’s problematic because a) centralization is prone to failure and abuse, and b) uniformity suppresses individual potential and opportunity to contribute originally.

  42. ChrisPacific

    In my opinion, the Russian hack evidence article let them off too lightly on the links to Putin category:

    The DHS/ODNI statement said clearly that “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” But the WaPo story suggests they still don’t have proof of Russia directing even the go-between who gave WL the cables, much less the go-between directing how Wikileaks released these documents.

    Mind you, this would be among the most sensitive information, if the NSA did have proof, because it would be collection targeted at Putin and his top advisors.

    Yes, it would, but they could at least say that they had some evidence. They didn’t do that. Read again: “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts…” So they aren’t claiming to have any direct evidence that Putin or top officials were involved. Instead they are inferring it from the nature of the activity.

    I’m trying to imagine what an operation might look like to make that a reasonable conclusion, and I’m having trouble. I can certainly believe that an attack that involved resources (manpower, technology, access) beyond what an independent operator or a group like Anonymous could reasonably bring to bear would strongly suggest a nation-state actor behind it. We’ve seen examples of that in the past. But how would you conclude that it was Putin authorizing it and not (say) some mid-level official, absent any direct evidence? I’m not sure – and, given the track record of US intelligence on matters of this type, I would certainly want to see their working before accepting the conclusion.

  43. Alex morfesis

    $hillary and captain video (john podesta) have never twisted arms…have never double crossed anyone…have never left anyone hanging to take a fall…

    the only enemies they have are greta van sustrens dads old enemies…

    the job of the kgb is…

    drum roll please…

    to spy…(which sometimes includes hacking)

    sorry if the fragilistas have a hard time with “unfair”…

    That podesta used a joke password…heck…that he used gmail…who sells everyones data for those two little spots at the top…how hard would it be to set up a diving expedition to target politicians and/or college intern-campaign volunteers via gmail ads ??

    Keystone kops galore…

    And that she used a firm (platte river)that employed an executive (david decamilis) who had deep ties to money launderer/scam artist lou Pearlman from orlando to handle her “privatized” govt email server account…

    The data may have come from rooskeez…but what type of idiots openly conspire and leave an electronic trail ?…

    In chicago, often it was heard behind closed doors when someone was caught taking a cash bribe directly…

    “They arent being prosecuted for taking a bribe…they are being taken down for being stupid enough to insist on and taking cash in hand…”

  44. Cry Shop

    Re: How Trump Broke the Blue Wall

    To help understand how he did this, I compared exit poll data from the last three elections in those states – 2012, 2014, and 2016.

    When are these pundits going to get it that polls often don’t work, and particularly don’t in these sorts of situations. I don’t see anything about confidence levels or what check questions were put in place to insure the polls have some reliability and about how much reliability.

    I’d leave a standard reference here on how it’s done, but every time I’ve tried to in the past, this college text book reference gets the entire post thrown out by Skynet, It doesn’t even go to moderation, it simply disappears. So anyone wanting to know more will have to find their own references.

  45. Mundi

    @Jerri-Lynn & NC – Here’s a rather rare civilised dialogue on Indian mainstream tv discussing the demonitisation a month after it has happened. Do note, in the BJP representative’s underlying tone of ‘technological solutionism’ and corporate tone and the typical right wing ‘no pain no gain’ ideology. Hope you find it useful.

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