Links 12/3/16

This is Cfdtrade’s special fundraiser, to fight a McCarthtyite attack against this site and 200 others by funding legal expenses and other site support. For more background on how the Washington Post smeared Cfdtrade along with other established, well-regarded independent news sites, and why this is such a dangerous development, see this article by Ben Norton and Greenwald and this piece by Matt Taibbi. Our post gives more detail on how we plan to fight back. 423 donors have already supported this campaign. Please join us and participate via our Tip Jar, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal.

So Long, Whitechapel Bell Foundry Spitalfields Life

Daily Mail condemns migrant numbers – while mourning the death of migrant Andrew Sachs New Statesman. R.I.P Manuel.

Vegans are furious that new British banknotes contain animal fat Treehugger. India is not alone in experiencing problems with introducing new banknotes. And I can’t help but be reminded of the East India Company’s 1857 miscalculation to introduce animal fat where it didn’t belong.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

WikiLeaks releases secret German intelligence data Politico

The IP Act: UK’s most extreme surveillance law Al Jazeera

Internet of stings TLS

How Kissinger Won Jacobin

China?

Trump talks to Taiwan president in move risking blowup with China SCMP

Bull in a China Shop: Trump risks diplomatic blowup in Asia Politico

China Dismisses Unprecedented Trump-Tsai Call as Taiwan Gimmick Bloomberg

Some Republicans are applauding Trump’s controversial phone call with Taiwan Business Insider

Trump-Taiwan call: China lodges protest BBC

Duterte says felt rapport with Trump, assures U.S.-Philippines ties intact Reuters

Iceland’s Pirate party invited to form government Guardian

Austrian presidential favourite ‘will prove he’s no Nazi’ The Times

Italian Referendum

Fears mount of multiple bank failures if Renzi loses referendum FT

5 ways Renzi tried to buy the referendum Politico

Airbnb Ends Fight With New York City Over Fines NYT

Amsterdam residents’ AirBnB rentals capped at 60 days per year Reuters (CB)

Class Warfare

Africa’s agriculture projects are growing inequality, not food The Conversation

Social Protection in the Age of Uber The Wire

#NoDAPL

Trump has endorsed the Dakota Access Pipeline. The next move is Obama’s. Vox

Sheriff Caught Scrubbing Facebook Page of Evidence of DAPL Civil Rights Violations after Fed Lawsuit Free Thought Project

Lacrosse star Lyle Thompson brings ‘medicine game’ to pipeline protesters National Observer (Martha R).

Police State Watch

Out of 8 companies surveyed, only Twitter would rule out helping Trump build a database of Muslims Boing Boing

How Some US Athletes Obtain Permits for Banned Medication Der Spiegel

Health Care

New Report Exposes “Patient Advocacy” Groups as a Big Pharma Scam The Intercept

New McCarthyism

CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear Counterpunch

Indian Currency Train Wreck

Politicians Are at the Top of the Black Money Ladder; It Is Time to Bring Them Down The Wire

2016 Post Mortem

Clinton allies plot anti-Trump movement Politico

Did Obamacare help Trump? FT. Don’t miss this: Gillian Tett gets it.

Jon Stewart rejects suggestion Donald Trump voters are racists Independent. Jon Stewart also talks sense.

Is it only ‘fake news’ when a Trump voter says it? The Hill (Dan K).

Twitter May Have Predicted the Election MIT Technology Review

Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not Counterpunch. I don’t agree with every one of his points, but there’s much to ponder here.

The British data-crunchers who say they helped Donald Trump to win Spectator. Snake oil salesmen or….? I’m curious to see what readers have to say about this.

Is this how democracy ends? LRB

Trump Transition

Is Trump hiring too many generals? Politico

Trump reverses stance by turning to Goldman alumni for key roles FT

Donald Trump Pentagon Pick Mattis Made Nearly $1,000,000 On Board Of Defense Contractor International Business Times

Trump, Cabinet could avoid millions in taxes thanks to this little-known law WaPo

Silicon Valley Chiefs Notably Absent From Trump’s Cabinet of Business Advisers NYT

When Public Goes Private, as Trump Wants: What Happens? NYRB

‘Republicans oppose this, remember?’: Sarah Palin slams Trump for ‘crony capitalism’ Carrier deal Business Insider

Goldman Sachs is the big Dow winner of the Trump rally Market Watch

“There’s No Check on Trump Except Reality”: A Q&A With Wayne Barrett New Republic

Don’t ignore the lame duck. Policy fights are raging in Congress that will affect millions. Vox. Reminder there’s much mischief to be made before President Trump is inaugurated.

Antidote du jour.

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See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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268 comments

  1. voteforno6

    Clinton allies are planning on going after Trump? Now they decide to do that? Given their track record of success, when it’s all said and done, Trump will be declared President for Life, and will be added to Mt. Rushmore.

    1. Jim Haygood

      One remains daily-grateful for our miraculous, skin-of-the-teeth deliverance from Clintonville.

      We have built pyramids in honor of our escaping.

      1. integer

        Don’t tell Ben Carson! He’ll try to fill them with grain.

        Adding: Was planning on having a day off commenting but just couldn’t resist that one.

        1. craazyboy

          Sedona, AZ has Orange Mountains.

          https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sedona+az&qpvt=sedona+az&qpvt=sedona+az&FORM=IARRSM

          Ben Carsen may take the Dept of the Interior job. We could use some pyramids in this country. Then privatize them so they become profitable, of course.

          1. DJPS

            Don’t you think it would be funnier to carve it Monument Valley, UT. Just to spite Romney and Agent McMuffin!

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          He will be needed as the Secretary of Agriculture, to secure our food or grain independence.

      2. griffen

        Pyramids are ancient. New stadium arenas for all the ballgames, and they will be yuuuge.

        Jerry Jones doesn’t get one, he has one already.

        1. integer

          Just imagine the theory that the Ben Carson of the future will come up with for why people built stadiums…
          The mind boggles.

        1. ambrit

          “Out here in the perimeter, there are no stars.”
          An interesting take on the phenomenon: https://sciencefictional.net/2009/10/14/out-here-in-the-perimeter-there-are-no-stars-out-here-we-is-stoned-immaculate/

          1. Skip Intro

            I love the friends Yves has gathered together on this thin raft!

            Seriously; cultured and interesting and, dare I gush, heartwarming. That is a great image in your link. It just needs a ‘You Are Here’ marker, and of course, a number of those connections (200 nodes worth) should be Putin-pink.

            1. ambrit

              Oh indeed, with Putin Pink, Neoliberal Noir, People’s Purple and Common’s Chartreuse, we’ll have a real “Rainbow Coalition.”
              Culture is essentially “crowdsourced.”
              Politicians today are accused of “triangulation.” As such, this implies too narrow a field of endeavour. Real “intersectionality” should be more like “Tesseractulation.”
              Really good songsmiths are first and foremost poets, in the older, more Bardic tradition.

    2. RenoDino

      I’d call for a thousand years of Trump, but that sounds kinda Third-Reichish. Given his large family, the line of succession will probably extend out at least one hundred years. I hope HRC lives long enough to see Ivanka sworn in as the first female President. Living in a post-republic is rather liberating.

      1. ambrit

        If he carries through with his “less war is more peace” foreign policy platform, he will have earned one.

    3. Dirk77

      And how do these Clinton operatives still have jobs? More evidence that among the political and business elite incompetence has few consequences these days. Kind of like the British aristocracy in the twilight of their empire?

  2. Kokuanani

    Just got off the phone with the WaPo, cancelling my subscription. I’ve been embarrassed for some time to be paying them, but this finally prompted me to get off my butt & call. I mentioned Timberg and the smearing of NC & other sites as the reason, and resisted their pleas to accept a reduced price “deal.”

    I’ll be sending NC the $$$ of the subscription price I save.

    1. johnnygl

      They’ve worked very hard to earn your disgust. Don’t worry, Bezos can pay the staff in AMZN shares if he’s that passionate about the junk they’ve been producing.

      Years ago i used to get the FT. I found Yves had a better grasp of things, especially during the crisis.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Started subscribing to The Eclownomist whilst living in France, back in the 20th century.

        But the management changed. It cheerfully endorsed Bush/BLiar’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, and plumped for more of the same by backing the Hildabeest in 2016.

        Don’t even go there no more, not even for the free bits. FT, The Eclownomist, the Guardian — enemy aliens, all of them.

          1. UserFriendly

            They are really fun to sub tweet on .
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/765125402650087424
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/739049105180229632
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/747275442235801600
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/755649448693432320
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/755419131722235904
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/784376316145573888
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/744441062941409280
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/766219543433842692
            https://.com/UserFrIENDlyyy/status/769435699863060480

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I haven’t bought anything through AMZN in maybe a year.

        I wonder how long I can go on.

        There is a Chinese version of Amazon, I think. Is there a Russian one?

        1. HBE

          My god, “Is there a Russian one?”, you know if you order anything from Russia you will be putting money into comrade vlads pocket! And you will end up on prop or nots sister site, RussianInTheCloset.com, your helpful resource in identifying whether or not your neighbors are under the spell of putinism. /S

          BTW the Chinese amazon is alibaba.

          1. voxhumana

            I use Kaspersky…

            better a commie than a pommie?

            http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/12/ip-act-uk-extreme-surveillance-law-161201141317587.html

          2. John Parks

            Paranoia!? I think I ran afoul of this last week when mailing a package to Russia. The person behind in line seemed interested in the address label on my package as I was filling out customs forms. (there was also an address on the package in Cyrillic to help the postal clerks in Russia)
            I left after mailing the package, and rather than going up to the clerk to handle his business, he followed me outside and took pictures of me and my license plate. I just nodded and waved.

            1. DJG

              John Parks: You have to be kidding. Citizen Snitches following you around the post office?

              Don’t be paranoid: I’m reminded how much the U.S. thrives on blowhardism and patriotic gore and how many people think that it is a-okay to crap on fellow citizens. But then so did Sinclair Lewis.

            2. ambrit

              Sorry, but this is exactly how authoritarian regimes work. A cadre of “loyal citizens” do the security apparat’s work for ‘patriotic’ reasons. These ‘loyal citizens,’ more accurately known as “Informants” rack up ‘official’ approval points and, in more pressing instances, cash and other material rewards. The Civil Forfeiture laws in America form a ready made template for this more degenerate form of “Patriotism.”
              The other usual abuses freely flow from this model.
              What is truly problematic about this method of internal security is the corruption and outright incompetence such a “crowdsourced” method of policing engenders.
              One salient point to keep in mind is that, in the general run of things, the “Informants” are the first line of “attritional resources” for the regime when things go wrong. Informants often end up dead. By that time, however, said informants have done their damage. Civil society has degenerated into a “Law of the Jungle” based melee. Call it ‘creative destruction’ if you will; innocents suffer. Cue the Yeats references.

              1. John Parks

                You certainly make some good points. In this case the gentleman who, in his mind, may or may not have been doing his patriotic duty is merely duplicating what the government is already doing. Homeland Security gets a copy of the export declarations and pays the USPS 50 cents per transaction for doing this reporting. (as per a year or so back when postal clerk explained it to me)

                1. ChiGal in Carolina

                  You should have taken his picture too, and maybe even followed him to HIS car. Unless this is a joke, it’s effin’ outrageous

                  1. ambrit

                    No ChiGal, it’s no joke. This type of personality is everywhere. I’ve met them, you have probably met them and had the merest hint of the “something isn’t right here” feeling.
                    The book “The Adjusted American” by the Putneys is a good introduction to the problem.
                    From back when America had some promise of being more than another old style Empire.
                    The idea of counter intimidation is fun, until one figures out how seriously the “status quo” takes it’s “privileged” status.
                    I was thrown off of a job site once for standing up to a bullying foreman. (You have to have met me to realize how bad this foreman had to be for me to fight back. I will put up with a lot.) When I complained to the Contractor, I was told that they would back up the foreman because he “got the job done.”
                    What’s of interest otherwise is Mr Parks observation that the higher powers already do the job of monitoring the mails. This is exactly one of the things covered by my citing of incompetence. Duplication of effort is a sign that the system is fragmented and potentially chaotic when rival claimants to a piece of “turf” encounter each other. The problem here is that each claimant to the “turf” in question can also have parallel “enforcement mechanisms” at work. The poor befuddled “citizen” can end up like the “hero” in a Kafka story.

                    1. skippy

                      Chortle ambrit…

                      Just had to tell a guy about a week ago that I don’t give my rights ™ away. I’m subbie on hours, tho he supervises the work flow, his reply was that just how – stuff – was…

                      Funny thing is I’m 10 years older and can kick him up and down the 6 floors of the site in quality and productivity, after an 8 year hiatus from the tools.

                      Anywho he grumbled and sulked off, now I’m is best mate, because I smash stuff out and won’t be picked to death in final reconciliation.

                      Disheveled…. now I whinnies at him and shake my back with a cheeky smile….

                    2. witters

                      It is a real problem: If every informant suspects that everyone else is an informant, then every informant’s information is.. what? Meta-nonsense?

                      How did Stasi Land actually work?

                    3. ambrit

                      Re. skippy @12/03 5:14:
                      Good on you mate. Although you will admit that you have a “foreman” who recognizes quality and value when he sees it. I’ve been seeing too much of the other sort here in the Deep South these last few years. Don’t you love the big, somewhat overweight “large boys” who are still running off of the fumes of their schoolyard year’s bullying reputation?
                      I’ve mentioned once before the time some of us were getting smashed about by members of the school American football team. Some of us started taking Judo lessons. (I still remember many of the ‘throws.’) The Judo instructor was a veteran of the Japanese Army from WW2. He said to our particular group; “Use psychology. These are football players. Threaten their knees. No athlete will tolerate that threat. Once their knee has been broken, their career is over.” It worked out exactly as the man predicted. A few weeks later, the football coach told his squad to leave us alone. The sods still picked on other ‘groundlings.’ Such is life.
                      Stay safe on the job site.

                  2. Waldenpond

                    I don’t have cable and don’t watch much tv, but even in the lefty utopia CA, they constantly run propaganda pieces of pleasantly benign, nicely dressed people of different genders and ethnicities…. if you see something, say something.

                  3. JTMcPhee

                    Worth a view of “The unbearable Lightness of Being…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdNCDvW-A20

                    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

                      Great suggestion! Or, read the book– I don’t think people read Kundera much anymore, but they should. His stuff set in postwar and communist-period Czechoslovakia is superb. Not only The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Immortality, but the earlier black as coal comic novels– The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, and Farewell Waltz.

                      In the 1980s, when I lived in the UK, everyone was reading him, as this Guardian piece recalls: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/may/22/milan-kundera-immortality-jonathan-coe-novels-women

                      I’ve kept up with his later work, but much prefer the earlier and middle period stuff.

              2. Eclair

                When in Berlin summer before last, my son dragged me to the Stasi Museum. It occupies multiple floors in their former headquarters, detailing every aspect of the East German surveillance state. The display of how the Stasi used informants was mind-boggling; at the height of their powers, the police had a huge percentage of the population spying on each other. And, they did all this with no computers … just file cabinets full of typed and hand-written information.

                I remember also, reading there that the Stasi’s favorite method of dealing with dissidents was to destroy their reputation with rumors of criminal, unethical or ‘perverted’ behavior. One story was of a pediatrician who committed suicide when her reputation was ruined by false rumors. That couldn’t happen here, of course.

                1. witters

                  Didn’t see this! But how, if every rumour might be a false rumour, and everyone knows this, does a false rumour work as a real one? Or is any rumour at all taken as a sign of ‘uh, oh. They are after him/her, better get in line’?

                  1. Eclair

                    My choice of words was not elegant; rather than ‘rumor,’ ‘spreading false information,’ might have been a better choice. Or, ‘disinformation.’ Apparently, the Stasi were rather good at this.

                    1. witters

                      The thing is, how, if everyone knows that what anyone says might be ‘false information’ or ‘disinformation’, can this information/disinformation have any real effect apart from sheer confusion?

                      I suggest that when everyone knows that everyone might be a spy for power, that all we are sensitive to is the perceived power content of any speech act. So here, in Stasiland, any widespread meme is read as a revelation of power and its necessities, and the demand/necessity to conform to it.

        2. Dave

          “I haven’t bought anything through AMZN in maybe a year.”

          Except for food and fuel, I haven’t bought ANYTHING in maybe six months.

          It’s amazing how much stuff there is around the house in cabinets, the garage, basement etc.
          People buy supplies ahead of time and end up throwing, giving them away or forgetting they are there.

          Go on a consumption diet, it feels good.

          “The average home has over 300,000 items in it”
          “Seven square feet of commercial storage space for every man, woman and child in America”

          http://www.becomingminimalist.com/clutter-stats/

          1. cnchal

            Thanks for the link. Here is what I consider the best comment from the many, by Sandra Rossi. Paragraph breaks and emphasis mine.

            I am a brand, marketing, and product consultant and have been in the retail, wholesale sectors for major lifestyle brands for 20 years. I’ve spent my career on creating reasons “why” people need more stuff.

            Marketers and Advertisers use scarcity tactics, artificial obsolescence tactics, and other emotional methods to keep the pipeline active. What’s not mentioned here at all is the diabolical amount of energy needed to create these goods – both human and natural resources. Yes, we’ve created a ton of jobs – but we’ve also created an outsourced workforce to support our habits and left massive energy and waste footprints in our wake.

            We’ve streamlined complex sourcing and supply chain models to become more efficient and faster at bringing goods to consumers via. plane, boat, train, automobile, and potentially drone. There are more outlets for buying goods now than ever. We live in a mass produced industrialized world…most goods are manufactured in key areas and facilities (some compliant some not) – meaning several brands in one factory with the same people putting them together – for the most part it’s all the same with different logos.

            Every time we buy something we are casting a vote and there is someone on the backend FORECASTING what we will buy in the future based on our purchases today. We just need to get wiser – aware – informed – so we can make better choices – and shift the paradigm. My work now and in the future is geared toward more purpose driven organizations who care deeply about not just the quality of goods they create – but the quality of life they promote – and sometimes – that doesn’t include any “stuff” at all – just great experiences.

            If people smartened up, could capitalism survive, or what do “we” want, a rip roaring economy for all or a habitable planet? Starting to recognize there is a big problem with the current system as envisioned by economists, who were guiding the whole mess of globalization from their throne at the policy table, is the first step in holding their feet to the fire, although I think they should be thrown in the fire head first, or pushed off the ice floe, euphemistically speaking of course.

            1. Dave

              The best thing most Americans could do for the planet is to hold a giant garage sale, dutch auction style, that’s where you start the bidding on items and people bid you down until you take the price.

              The average house around my neck of the woods sells for over $800 a square foot.
              People tie up hundreds of square feet of their houses storing stuff for decades that “they might need someday”–the value of which is probably no more than several hundred dollars.

              Meanwhile, people nearby are living in their cars because they can’t afford to rent a tiny studio apartment for $1,800 or so. See the connection and the need here?

              1. cnchal

                . . . See the connection and the need here?

                I sure do. A massive misallocation of resources but there are lots of connections between the particular phenomenon in your locality and economists. Housing is sold based on debt repayment ability, and bought with one greedy eye on price appreciation, so the bigger the house, the bigger the “profit” in the future, or so it is believed.

                Also, your locality is being over run with external demand, which can be traced right back to the effects of globalization. Where do those Chinese buyers get their fortunes from? It is wage theft from the peasants cranking out “stuff” in collusion with Apple or Walmart management, or straight out theft from the State Owned Enterprises in China. It works like this. Your buddy at the Chinese central bank lends your enterprise a shitload of thin air money, and 20 or 30 percent gets skimmed, to be turned into houses in far away places.

                That’s what you are competing with. Where is your opportunity to steal tens of millions of dollars to compete with Chinese buyers?

                That’s capitalism in the new age. Meanwhile the planet burns, China Inc pollutes itself and their elite use stolen money to escape and the result is a living hell, in your neighborhood.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thus, the GDP is a fake GDP.

              If people consume only what they need or naturally desire (without being manipulated), what is the real GDP?

              But I think there is a global GDP contest (and we have been brainwashed into wanting to be No 1!, No 1!, No 1!).

          1. Apotropaic

            http://www.biblio.com
            http://www.bibliopolis.com
            http://www.abaa.org

            Alibris has been bought by private equity. The above are still independent.

  3. windsock

    Apologies if this has already been posted, but it is very funny:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-reviews-thomas-friedman-book-thank-you-for-being-late-w453529

    1. pretzelattack

      that made my morning,

      and for his unmatched, God-given ability to write nonsensical metaphors, like his classic “rule of holes”: “When you’re in one, stop digging. When you’re in three, bring a lot of shovels.”

      it’s almost like a koan. lots of great lines here.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        My immediate reaction is, is he talking about food, like dough, ramen, noodles, calzone, stromboli, Lahmajoon?

  4. Stephen V

    Something happening here….Obama move indeed! Vets are on their way to DAPL with $.75m raised so far. Michael A. Wood is the real deal. A militia for the left?
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EA-JleBjjSw

    1. Tvc15

      Yes, this could get interesting with 2000 veterans signed up to provide support in rotations.

      Wood does seem to get it, and I enjoy him using the oath of allegiance against the oligarchy…to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    2. nycTerrierist

      Wow, great clip. Dog bless the vets and the protectors, real heroes, leaders and decent human beings.

      Jimmy Dore is great: (paraphrase) ‘I mean this is only something that could happen in Trump’s America, right?
      I wish Barack Obama was still president. Then he would probably stop this because he’s a good guy who cares about people, especially natives. He said that…So if Barack were still President do you think this would be happening?’

    3. nycTerrierist

      “A militia for the left?”

      Interestingly, Wood describes an alliance with libertarians here, too.
      It’s bipartisan!

        1. HBE

          I had the same thought, but I think an important difference is that our last ground war is more of a near memory and more police than ever before are veterans, the bonus army faced the mostly young recruits who didn’t really understand or forgot what the vets had been through.

          Here you will end up with veterans of the same war facing eachother, which I hope will lead to a much more beneficial outcome than what befell the bonus army.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            The Armed Services are very large and contain many different groups performing different missions. I am afraid the veterans who become police come from parts of the military that served different missions than those served by the veterans opposing them.

            1. Carla

              Well, Michael Wood, member of Veterans Stand for Standing Rock who appeared on the Jimmy Dore clip linked above, is retired from the Baltimore police force.

              1. Jeremy Grimm

                I didn’t think of that. Not only do our veterans come different groups which supported different missions they can come from different wars and perceive our military actions from different perspectives.

            2. Jake

              I know a retired state trooper who joined the force after serving as an mp in the army. This assessment of the armed service/police relationship is consistent with my reading of my acquaintance. His wife and mine are close and stay in touch over long years and miles, we have discussed politics primarily relating to personalities and not issues, but his attitudes have come through pretty clearly. Contempt for the people he wss policing was a consistent thread.

          2. aletheia33

            interesting. what do we know so far about veterans in the police forces, how they perceive their situation, lucky to be working and having something reminiscent of military service to do, never liked those un-american soldiers anyway?

            could the refusals of police from other states to continue helping out DAPL be a sign of police ambivalence? are any of the police on the ground at standing rock, having sworn to serve the dakota petrostate, having any qualms? and if so, how many? it takes such major guts to go against the group in military/police type groups.

            makes me want to read up on moments in history when armies refused to fight. have police forces ever refused to deploy against protesters?

            boy do i wish i could witness the encounter or someone manages to video it. but only those at the front of both lines will really know what happens in the hearts and minds there. i hope they can make a clear and accurate report of it.

            1. coboarts

              I remember watching a clip of the Italian police confronting demonstrators about a year or so ago. The police decided that they were not going to suppress the demonstration and walking toward the crowd removed their helmets.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jqzUX8fkMk

              When they did that, well that’s what heroism feel like.

            2. Stephen Gardner

              The Shah of Iran would be in power today if the police and soldiers had been willing to kill their people for him. If done properly a veteran’s group could bring hesitation to fire on the crowds.

            3. John Parks

              Aletheia
              See:
              San Patricio Brigade

              Irish American troops defected to the Mexican side and they are still memorialized in Mexico

            4. Spring Texan

              Ido not know for sure, but heard that two of the police handed in their badges and refused to continue doing this, maybe someone else has details.

              1. Lambert Strether

                For the newer readers, NC isn’t a board and it isn’t Reddit. I “heard” covers a multitude, and in fact subtracts value, because somebody else has to verify what you may (or may not) have heard. I did a Google search on “badges ‘Standing Rock'” and found only activist sources.* Ground Zero seems to be a Facebook post:

                redhaw_rumor

                So, the activist didn’t know, said there “had been reports.” Without saying where or from whom! So you “heard” that he heard. Game of telephone, anyone? A good first cut on rumors is “pix or it didn’t happen!” And even pix, being digital, can be altered, so the pix have to have known provenance and a chain of custody.

                The NC comments section isn’t a dumpster for rumors. Please use Facebook for that.

                * In my experience, some activist silos are rigorous about their information; our own landfill effort was, and the anti-TPP effort was. Other activist silos, e.g. anti-GMOs, are not; they slip into “any stick to beat a dog” mode. I don’t know enough to sort out the sourcing on Standing Rock; I follow Indian Country, and haven’t seen anything on this. Since they have every incentive to publish this story if it were true, it probably isn’t.

        2. JTMcPhee

          Don’t forget what happened to the Bonus Marchers. Fokking MacArthur, and all the scum he fronted for. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/macarthur/peopleevents/pandeAMEX89.html

          And there’s a reason why the military industrialists are looking to replace unreliable grunting meatsacks with autonomous killing machines. There’s a long and to my mind very honorable trail of refusals to do what the Fokkers tell them — unlawful orders, stuff so very at odds with what the common mind might think are the tenets of “our” Constitutional Republic. Context, people! “SIR! NO SIR!” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir!_No_Sir!

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Did the British leave India because of Gandhis cotton spinning harem or Nehru’s four million men under arms?

        The code in MLK’s speeches was it was his way or a not non violent way. Garveyism was huge only thirty years before. If you drop the “white” modifier from his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” King’s plea for aid is a threat to the established black church. King could use his celebrity to disrupt giving to churches. Black ministers might be sympathetic to civil rights, but gosh like much of the religious establishment, they worried about the collection plate. They didn’t want blacks who were financially better off climbing the social ladder by attending the “in” white church and putting money in a different collection plate. King announced a scorched earth policy that wasn’t lost. Support the movement or King and Abernathy, better ministers than the local one, are coming.

        1. HBE

          Thank you for bringing up Nehru and the myth of Gandhi, without the contrast of violence and power Gandhis non-violent movement likely would have achieved nothing.

          I think the same holds true for MLK, without the contrasting violence of Malcom x and within American cities during the period I don’t believe he could have achieved all he did through non-violence.

          The violence in parallel with non-violent movements helps to shift the Overton window and helps to legitimize the formerly “fringe” non-violent movement, but more importantly it provides a strong and clear contrast. Either you work with the peaceful now “legitimate” non-violent movement or you get more instability and violence.

          Without that contrast non-violent movements don’t achieve much beyond “awareness” (occupy), correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe a non-violent movement on it’s own without that contrast has ever achieved concrete gains.

          1. aletheia33

            i think gene sharp’s work includes lists of various nonviolent movements that have succeeded in one way or another. might be worth a look.

            1. Tigerlily

              It’s been a while since I read Sharp, but my recollection is that his catalogue of historical examples is pretty thin. He does point to the strike by German workers in the Ruhr after the Belgian-French occupation of 1923-4 to enforce the reparations provisions of the Versailles Treaty as a potential model for future nonviolent resistance to a foreign occupier.

              As a former army reservist I’m not optimistic about large numbers of soldiers refusing to obey orders. Military culture, perfected in the white heat of combat over millennia of conflict, is completely directed at ensuring that eventuality does not happen. It takes a massive amount of psychological pressure to induce people to face mortal danger rather than break ranks and run away, and the military is very adept at applying that pressure.

              1. aletheia33

                i recall reading of more than one event historically when junior officers, or some other type of subsection of officers, have refused to obey commands from above. sometimes getting all those below them creamed as a result, and sometimes succeeding in holding back an army. at any rate, my impression is that when officers, not just ordinary soldiers, lead a resistance, that can stop an army from deploying.

                yes the military is very adept at forcing people to fight. but also, as you say, it does take a massive amount of pressure to make them, because on the whole they really don’t want to. which must also mean that given a chance not to, they may well take it.

                wish i could cite cases, my memory no longer serves me as well as it used to.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Same memory problem. I think it was called “sham patrolling:” toward the end of the US involvement in the ground war, the platoon leader would file a completely or mostly falsified action report, saying the grunts had gone out on a sweep over such and so sector on X date and time, while in fact the young men had sat inside their barbed wire compound and toked up or beered themselves silly. Getting home was the mission. So much granular detail that might be pointed to. A continuing source of so much of what is so very wrong, from the ordinary person’s standpoint, albeit slanted in that inside-beltway-baseball way that so much commentary contains: “General Failure,” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/11/general-failure/309148/

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            That contrast of good and bad reminds me of this from the Dao De Jing;

            When people see some things as good,
            other things become bad.

            Somehow related is the Buddhist notion of bodhisattva, who delays entrance into Nirvana until everyone else has (but which bodhisattva will go before other bodhisattvas? Does it mean, if no bodhisattva goes first, they all stay behind?).

            A little more remotely related is the idea that one sacrifices oneself to save others.

            Or, one commits a unpleasant act in order that others don’t have.

            Like, for example, voting for Trump, so others don’t have to vote for him, and yet, we can still enjoy a Hilllary-not-president political world.

            “I voted for Trump, so you don’t have to. You’re clean.”

          3. johnnygl

            As i understand it, non-violence is partially about winning over public opinion, raising awareness and forcing people to take sides.

            The civil disobediance part is meant to keep ramping up and growing until the authorities find it increasingly difficult to govern.

            Think of BLM blocking highways.

            1. JohnnyGL

              Another example that popped into my head was Brazilian labor unions in the 1970s and 1980s held repeated strikes in support of pro-democracy movements.

              Strikes in S. Africa were overtly political, too, as I recall. Miners and Metalworkers were/are big there.

              Gets at another reason that the authorities hate unions. They’re a possible vector for protest movements to spread and amplify their power. Imagine the reaction in DC if, say, SEIU or the AFL-CIO held a 1-day walk out to support BLM, Occupy, or noDAPL.

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Folks in those other non-US countries see so much more clearly what common interests are — and they haven’t had the Carnival enthusiasm bred and beaten out of them… Volatility and volubility are treasured.

                  1. Montanamaven

                    We can’t have general strikes in solidarity here. It’s illegal, right? Which makes solidarity hard. And solidarity is the most powerful weapon we have. Also our labor unions have not been about solidarity in general but rather gains for individual unions and pay raises. Again, that’s what made something like the I.W.W. the real danger to the establishment. “Workers of the World Unite”. The Wobblies fought for more leisure time. Your leisure is less controllable than your pay.

      2. Lynne

        Sad to say, the Obama admin has for years been pumping out propaganda about radicalization of former military (supported and amplified by a SPLC looking to stay relevant and build up coffers). Law enforcement has been the primary target of the propaganda but prosecutors have been receiving it as well. Will be interesting to see how it plays out now. The PTB will use this as “proof” that vets need to be monitored.

        I do know a few officers who have not been happy (to put it mildly) about being sent to Standing Rock. But the choice they had was go or resign. Unlike some areas, it’s a volunteer deal only in that the head honchos decide who gets volunteered.

        As for bi-partisanship, do you think there’s ever much of a chance that the Tea Party and Occupy crowds might realize they have more in common with each other than with the established parties? Now that people might be wising up to the way CNN et al worked to marginalize each group by exaggerating the fringe elements in each?

    4. Carla

      They are asking that any donations be made at Square Cash:

      http://www.cash.me/$VeteranStand

      There is a GoFundMe account for Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, but apparently the fees taken out are higher, and GoFundMe does not provide the immediate access to the cash.

    5. Patricia

      Yes! Tulsi tweet, last night, on arriving into Bismarck:

      https://.com/TulsiGabbard/status/804906087690489856

        1. Patricia

          Tea with the Obamas, followed by martinis with the pipe-financing bankers.

          So much to sip, so little time.

          1. Jim Haygood

            … followed by a meeting with the grim-faced Clinton Foundation accountants, with their “skunk at the garden party” downer news of “cash flow insufficiencies.”

            Wonder whether the “Chelsea house” next door to the Chappy compound got finished by Thanksgiving?

            The pool’s in, but the patio ain’t dry.” — Rolling Stones, Little T&A

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Obama and Bill will have to be friends now that they have no more leverage with donors beyond personal appeals, and my guess is its much harder to find people willing to gush about Obama’s retiree golf game on a short notice.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              What, precisely, is in the souls of those two men these days, Bubba’s little global grifting project (the Foundation) on the rocks and Obama’s “place” looking like it may only be as a punchline for sad jokes about pathetic, hypocritical fakers. “Barack Obama was president for 8 years, a period marked by economic stagnation, rising poverty, a doubling of America’s debt burden, disastrous ongoing and new foreign wars, and a loss of American influence and goodwill around the globe”. Maybe the Big O will be treated like OJ was when he got back to Brentwood, nobody would talk or meet with or have dinner with him any more. And I’d hate to be in the Clinton marital bedroom these day, the vitriol and recriminations are probably hot enough to set the drapes on fire.

              1. different clue

                The rich people Obama worked for will give him the money he expects. If they don’t, they will be setting a bad example for future presidents who want to get rich after office by serving rich people while in office.

                1. aab

                  Unless Trump’s presidency signals a change. Obama’s owners seemed displeased with him on many occasions, despite how well he followed instructions.

                  Perhaps the plutocrats will decide that since they can’t find good help these days, they’ll just have to do it themselves from here on.

                2. JTMcPhee

                  Obama has a head and Blackberry full of stuff that the Oligarchs would not want to see aired. I’m sure there’s opportunity to leverage his continued silence on such matters into continued if reduced paydays. No sympathy for the fella who lies with the dogs and gets up with fleas.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        This is how a female candidate builds a resume to be proud of in the future. And to go as far politically as she may want to.

        The glass ceiling may not need to be smashed with brute force. It’s possible that it may just quietly melt away.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          What about the glass ceiling above those both female and male who aren’t members of the Elite Class?

          1. Patricia

            I don’t know the class of her family, but she was born in the American Samoa, where her father is from, and her mother is from Indiana, and is Hindu, as is Tulsi.

            May she continue as she has been.

        2. none

          Ya know, sometime during Bernie’s campaign I started thinking, any so-called progressive politician with no arrest record shouldn’t be taken seriously (Bernie was arrested during the Civil Rights Movement).

          I’m not as huge a fan of Tulsi Gabbard as some people here seem to be, but if she gets arrested at Standing Rock, she’ll gain points with me for that.

          1. Patricia

            FWIW, I’m not a total fan of any human: too fragile, flawed. But waiting for Godot is an exercise in hopelessness.

            Gabbard has been doing well and in her person/experience/opinion, she has broad appeal.

            In a different way but also broadly, we have Nina Turner.

            We are not without resources but neither do we have an embarrassment of riches such that we can afford to become connoisseurs.

      2. DJG

        Patricia: Thanks. A delight to read Tulsi Gabbard’s original tweet and the responses.

        I am reminded of Lambert’s exhortations. The left has to settle on a few identifiable issues that bring in large numbers of good-natured people (and even useful crabby people). Protection of Native Americans. Protect the land. Protect the water. Progressive taxation (a man can dream). No tampering with Social Security (expansion, in fact). Single-payer health insurance.

        1. marym

          I agree with the focus on a few big issues, adding publicly funded tuition at public colleges and universities; and (a woman can dream too) a student loan jubilee.

          Somehow the right and the neolibs manage to frame most issues under a few headings – like individual freedom, small government, low taxes for the former; “because markets” and incrementalism for the latter.

          What are the left’s few concepts that can be applied across multiple issues? The argument against privatization; the idea of the commons and the common good; the harm of wealth disparity?

          We’re going to be bombarded with more issues than ever. These issues will have disparate impact and priority and can divide us. However, an overriding argument, say against privatization, can unite us even if some activists choose to fight a more local or particular issue – like public transportation or neighborhood schools.

          1. Carla

            The battle against privatization at the local level is, I think, essential. I heard a dynamite local public school teacher speak the other night on how the Common Core was never anything but a front for the privatization of public education through cherry-picking, never-accountable-to-the-public charter schools. This teacher just returned from Standing Rock. He is one of my new heroes.

          2. integer

            What are the left’s few concepts that can be applied across multiple issues?

            Respect All People.
            Treating other people’s lives as if they are property is not acceptable.

            We all only have one life, and we should all have respect that for the fact that everyone would like theirs to be as livable and painless as possible. Also, on a global scale, one must get their own house in order before helping others, lest problems be exported under the guise of goodwill.

          3. a different chris

            I think you’ve hit on something… the word “commons” and the phrase “common good”. The Rightstag has stolen “freedum”, what the rest of us have to do is stop fighting that and march right past them.

            The phrases above should be in every other sentence a left or center-left politician utters.

        1. UserFriendly

          probably
          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/tulsi-gabbard-krishna-cult-rumors_n_6879588.html

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/25/the-bernie-endorsing-congresswoman-who-trump-fans-can-love.html?curator=MediaREDEF

    6. JustAnObserver

      Reminds me of those scenes during Occupy of vets standing with the protesters. One esp. comes to mind of a row of IIRC Marine vets facing off against & facing down a bunch of robo-cops. Wish I’d saved that image.
      Interestingly I seem to remember that the majority of the vets that turned up were Marines ??

  5. rich

    How top U.S. colleges hooked up with controversial Chinese companies

    By Steve Stecklow and Alexandra Harney

    Filed Dec. 2, 2016, noon GMT

    New Oriental, China’s biggest private educator, has been accused of academic fraud. Thanks to two enterprising Americans, it has also gained access to leading U.S. college admissions officers.

    SHANGHAI/SHELTER ISLAND, New York – Thomas Benson once ran a small liberal arts college in Vermont. Stephen Gessner served as president of the school board for New York’s Shelter Island.

    More recently, they’ve been opening doors for Chinese education companies seeking a competitive edge: getting their students direct access to admissions officers at top U.S. universities.

    Over the past seven years, Benson and Gessner have worked as consultants for three major Chinese companies. They recruited dozens of U.S. admissions officers to fly to China and meet in person with the companies’ student clients, with the companies picking up most of the travel expenses. Among the schools that participated: Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

    Two companies Benson and Gessner have represented – New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc and Dipont Education Management Group – offer services to students that go far beyond meet-and-greets with admissions officers.

    Eight former and current New Oriental employees and 17 former Dipont employees told Reuters the firms have engaged in college application fraud, including writing application essays and teacher recommendations, and falsifying high school transcripts.

    The New Oriental employees said most clients lacked the language skills to write their own essays or personal statements, so counselors wrote them; only the top students did original work. New Oriental and Dipont deny condoning or wittingly engaging in application fraud.

    Building on a model they pioneered for Dipont, Benson and Gessner helped New Oriental introduce its clients to U.S. admissions officers, linchpin players in the fast-growing business of supplying Chinese students a prestigious American education.

    Beijing-based New Oriental is a behemoth. Founded in 1993, the company is China’s largest provider of private education services, serving more than two million Chinese students a year. Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The company generates about $1.5 billion in annual net revenue from programs that include test preparation and English language classes. This year, about 10,000 of its clients were enrolled in American colleges and graduate schools.

    The ethics code for college admissions officers doesn’t address the propriety of such arrangements. Cigus Vanni, a retired high school counselor from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, said it was “absolutely” unethical for colleges to accept the money. He likened it to a “pay-for-play” scheme in which prospective Chinese students get special treatment. Many American applicants to elite U.S. colleges – which can receive five to 20 applications for each available slot – don’t get to directly interact with admissions officers.

    http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/college-charities/

    1. Arizona Slim

      Lacked the language skills? Well, it’s about time that someone noticed.

      This has been painfully obvious for years.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Shame on UC Berkeley.

        I wonder if I can get my money back for my degrees.

        “I want a refund.”

      2. Lee

        I was visiting a friend in hospital. He had just been given an injection for pain. A foreign nurse entered the room moments later preparing to give him another pain shot. He explained to her he had just received a shot. She ignored his statement and went on preparing to give him the injection. Finally he grabbed her arm and sent me from the room to find someone to provide clarification. At no time did this nurse give any indication that she understood what was being said to her. A more senior English speaking nurse intervened and prevented an over dose.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Is there anyone who doesn’t understand “No”? Adults have a right of refusal of medical care. If she went ahead, she and the hospital could be sued for big money.

          Still, getting another nurse was the best course – better than getting up out of bed.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      First off, we need to reverse engineer our college system.

      The best schools take only the worst students. Because they are elite, precisely because of that, they can turn C high school students (not just a few token ones, but 100%), into A college graduates.

      Secondly, when you encounter a culture that has 2,000 year old history of gaming or surviving the Imperial Examination, we have to severe the tie between a young person’s career prospect with a school’s certificate, or our students will be displaced or become extinct on own campuses. Colleges should enlighten students, so they seek knowledge for knowledge’s sake, not using it as a stepping stone to wealth or power.

      Thirdly, in the Knowledge Realm, ideas are never born and they never die. Their shadows in the human world do, as we imagine them to do. They are not separate individual entities, as we delude ourselves to be individual human persons (except when one takes LSD…then, all in this physical world is one). What we call different academic departments are arbitrary demarcations. The Knowledge Realm is an open-borders one, and our colleges should be reconstructed to better reflect that. Philosophers versus plumbers, or physicists versus waiters, etc…just our own delusions, as we are all those

      Fourthly, the Chinese word for the most knowledgeable person is 学问, literally, learn (the first character) and ask (the second character). One learns to ask, or learn by asking. The most knowledgeable person is one who ask the most often or most interesting ones, etc. If we want our college teachers to be most knowledgeable, they are the ones always asking, not lecturing or talking about what they already know. Asking their students or others for explanations, answers or even questions. Keep asking. And students should be graded, not for their answers on questions devised by their teachers, but for the questions they have for their teachers.

      PS: I don’t have any question at this time, but I am not that knowledgeable yet. So, I just type and comment. The knowledgeable ones can share their questions, so we may all learn.

      1. Yves Smith

        That’s not true. It’s only recently that Harvard, and I suspect it’s the direct result of Larry Summers losing billions of endowment money via a batshit dumb swaps bet, started taking lots of students based on how much their parents would or had put in. In my day, I know of quite a few cases of kids who were in the “legacy” category who were turned down. Seriously, in my day I met only one student that fell in the legacy category and I stage managed and produced theater, which meant I ran into a lot of not hardcore academic types.

        In 1971, when Harvard had riots on campus, the next year it decided to admit the smartest class evah. The suicide rate among freshmen tripled. The college freaked out and implemented a policy called “the happy bottom,” in which 25% of the class was explicitly well adjusted-looking people who weren’t spectacularly smart but were attractive for other reason (athletics, campus leadership types, did well despite coming from really terrible backgrounds, and not too stupid legacy).

        1. aab

          I’m fascinated by this story, which is new to me. I picked Harvard over Yale in part because Yale had offered me entry into an intensely academic program that was known to have a high suicide rate. I wanted a balance of academics and extra-curriculars. By the time I went to Harvard in the very late 70s, it was hard to fail and easy to skate through, if that’s what you wanted to do. You could get an absolutely amazing education if you tried, but you had to be an educational entrepreneur, attracting the attention of interesting professors and picking your courses and concentration carefully.

          I don’t understand why an exceptionally smart freshman class would have a high suicide rate. You could save up all your work for Reading Period and still get through. That would be sub-optimal if you wanted to maximize your learning experience, but it certainly meant that with any ability at all, you could screw up badly during the semester and pull it out in January and May.

          I knew people who found Harvard stressful; some of them transferred. It was not a supportive environment, but I’d never had one, so for me it was more like a super-cool playground with fun, new equipment. There were a lot of things about Harvard College culture back then that I can imagine being upsetting, but seriously, if you were actually exceptionally smart, the work itself was not overwhelming. People tended to be traumatized when they got there after being the smartest kid in their high school and were now just average. I saw that a lot.

          Do you know more about why the suicide rate went up, Yves? Unless the curriculum got incredibly dumbed down between the early 70s and the late 70s, it wasn’t the coursework.

  6. allan

    United Continental to Pay $2.4 Million SEC Fine In Relation to S.C. Flight [WSJ]

    United Continental Holdings Inc., bedeviled for more than a year by corruption allegations, brought the episode to what it hopes is a close Friday after it was assessed $2.4 million in penalties by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    The airline in July paid the Justice Department $2.25 million in a nonprosecution agreement in the same case. The allegation was that United sought to curry favor with the then-chief of the authority that ran United’s Newark, N.J., hub by reinstating a money-losing flight to a South Carolina city near his vacation home. …

    A former New Jersey attorney general and a close political ally of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Mr. Samson resigned from the Port Authority in 2014 as the federal investigation mounted. United quickly canceled the route, which the SEC said lost $945,000, leaving shareholders on the hook for that sum. Mr. Samson is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 5. …

    $2.4 million here, $2.25 million there, $945,000 out the door, pretty soon you’re talking about …. the cost of doing business with a Mafia regime.

    Unmentioned by the WSJ is former CEO Jeff Smisek’s $37,000,000 golden parachute.
    Because cost of talent.

  7. Wombat

    Viewed billboard in central El Paso, TX (El Paso is a city with unlimited sprawl, where the city never says no to developers, resultingly central EP is quite poor and houses do not appreciate):

    “Money is available to help you buy a home… See if you qualify, December 2-3, 2016 NeighborhoodLIFT event: http://wellsfargo.com/liftnow”

    One cannot help but wonder if Wells Fargo is chomping at the bit to snag some above their means lenders. At least Wells Fargo may be building their mailing (exploitation) lists to have ready in hopes of Dodd Frank repeal or deregulation of consumer protections. Then again doesn’t Wells Fargo has a long, long history of helping low income neighborhoods?

    1. j84ustin

      I worked in Chicago for a nonprofit that received money from Wells Fargo for the same down payment assistance program. It was called City lift. Home buyers that qualified got $15,000 towards down payment and closing costs. It’s a good program, but you gotta follow the money. I also tried to warn buyers when it appeared they were stretching themselves thin, often to no avail.

      1. beth

        True. True. True. I have a friend who qualified for the Wells Fargo free $23,000 to sign up for a mortgage. The 23 thousand could be the down payment, so no money down. No way of telling if someone was ready for the commitment. Had to attend group & individual meetings after qualifying. Then the kicker: Closing would take 2 months or more, so that only homes that were not wanted by anyone else would be viable. Anyone who had saved for years was considered “not needy” by the middle class (BMW) social service types who held some of the meetings. Can we spell SCAM.

    2. Teejay

      Did you mean to write: “… Wells Fargo is chomping at the bit to snag some above their means [borrowers].” ?

  8. RenoDino

    Jon Stewart is a hot mess. He started all this with his brilliant fake news show, that exposed the MSM media as liars.
    He gave Colbert a platform to do the same. Trump took the ball and ran with it. The formula Stewart created resulted in a Trump win.

    Stewart is still totally blind to the phenomena he created. Watching him struggle to rationalize how we got here is sad. Stewart doesn’t get his own joke.

    1. cocomaan

      It doesn’t seem to me that history will be kind to him and the other comedic news shows. While satire has a place in the discourse, Stewart and Colbert didn’t add much. Most of it was smug sniping or scoring points against opponents that couldn’t respond. I still remember when Stewart went on Begala and Carlson’s show, a show where a republican and a democrat discussed issues, and castigated them for arguing about things. Where did that get us? What did he do that was superior? What conversations are better off for having him involved?

      Also, their satire never confronted the key political issue of class. Instead they played identity politics and argued over social issues like abortion. Again, it has a place, but if they spent as much time confronting class as they did confronting sexism, things could have changed. Their influence is tremendous.

      Forgive any shortcomings of this post, the coffee hasn’t kicked in. This is just something I’ve thought about comedic news for the past year or two.While the interview had good points, I also think Stewart is overrated.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Stewart castigated Crossfire because “debate” shows create the illusion issues are equal, and Begala and Novak only speak for the corptocracy. Their debates were reactionary to Bill O’Reilly.

        Cable news itself is a clown show, and no it suddenly didn’t get worse. CNN was always a disaster that got lucky when their guy was in Bagdhad in 1991.

      2. SoCal Rhino

        I think history will note the death of American journalism started much earlier with the McGlaughlin Group, in which journalist advocates screamed at each other over a variety of topics. Mesmerizing but dread inducing.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I blame Nightline. Not that the msm has ever been particularly credible, but Nightline moved to sensationalism and over focus on certain stories. The 20+ hostages in Iran is a story after all, but it matters very little to the other 200 million Americans at the time.

          1. optimader

            As you remember.. Nightline started as a hostage watch drama til it finally morped into a “breaking news” drama show after the hostage can got kicked down the road to boredom…” Day Whatever, and ..they are still being held hostage…umm

              1. Arizona Slim

                True story: I studied acting with a coach who was part of the SNL cast that replaced the originals. She didn’t last long on SNL, but she was an excellent coach.

      3. Dave

        Very popular video on Youtube shows all the people that claimed Trump wouldn’t win.
        Stewart and John Oliver start it out…
        “Please Mr. Trump, please run!” Mass laughter from audience, It’ll be so funny!
        Great high comedy there…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcqN1Y2Pbwg

    2. KurtisMayfield

      Ok, I am trying to understand your logic and I am failing.

      #1. MSM are liars
      #2. Stewart points out that MSM are liars.
      #3. Trump also points out that the MSM are liars.
      #4. It’s Stewart’s fault that Trump did this.

      I don’t see how #2 and #3 are connected, nor how #3 and #4 are. The problem is #1.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        #2b Many here on NC also point out that the MSM are liars.
        .
        .
        .#4b It’s also the fault of people here.

      2. cocomaan

        #2. Stewart points out that MSM are liars.

        I think this is what I left out: Stewart spent years talking about how stupid republicans are, how working class whites were idiots, how fundamentalist Christians were demons, and so on. He made good points. But he also alienated those people. Lo and Behold, those are people who sent the democrats back into the wilderness.

        I’m just saying that Stewart and Colbert did pretty much nothing positive for American discourse. Certainly didn’t help their side in an important election. At best, they were a failed experiment in news delivery.

        I am not sure how my comments are construed as being pro clinton, but there you go.

        1. mk

          I learned a lot about creating Super Pacs from Stephen Colbert when he and his attorney created one, raised funds, and distributed those funds on The Colbert Report. I really appreciated his efforts and felt he was successful with his explanation and admired him for providing this public good.

          Jon Stewart had lots to say about the banksters and the big bank bailout. He was pretty good about explaining the truth of the housing situation/derivatives, etc. Also torture, and many other issues.

          So many people were informed by those two shows that people started calling them journalists, so Jon had to tell people that he’s not a journalist, he’s a comedian.

          The problem for me with Jon and Stephen (or anyone making jokes about politics) is that it’s not funny anymore. I can’t laugh, makes me sad instead.

          Regarding why people voted for Trump: We’ve had eight years with Democrats and we working class people have no gains to show for it, we have losses. The election gave us two bad choices. HRC and Trump are both liars, so who to vote for? Personally, I went with what I thought was lessor of two evils when I voted my mail, but I had to put obstacles in my way to make sure I didn’t vote for Trump because I am so angry with being lied to by democrats for years and didn’t want to see them in power any longer. I gave my ballot to my partner to complete to make sure I didn’t vote for Trump. But the urge was so strong, I can relate to those who did vote for Trump. It’s not about race. (HEY HRC, IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!)

          So when are we going to organize ourselves so that we take the power back? When millions of people stand up and fight TOGETHER, we will not be denied.

          I’m starting with my own personal boycott of Amazon.

        2. integer

          “I am not sure how my comments are construed as being pro clinton, but there you go.”

          I can’t see any responses to your comment to that effect. KurtisMayfield was replying to RenoDino.

          “Forgive any shortcomings of this post, the coffee hasn’t kicked in.”

          I’m guessing that the above quote gets to the core of this issue. :·D

        3. UserFriendly

          I’m convinced that Bernie would have won the primary if Stewart had stayed on air. He did a great piece on Bernie and he wasn’t fond of Clinton. He would have been the sole voice in the mainstream unapologetically making fun of all Clintons BS.
          https://youtu.be/HnaqrepHrtc
          Slamming Clinton:
          https://youtu.be/4oBtYXUPNdE

        4. Lynne

          They didn’t make good points. They caricatured people and took things out of context, so they could ridicule the caricature with snide and smug meanness. They helped create the chasms that make it impossible to resolve things civilly, and made sure the have-nots on the coasts and the have-nots in flyover country would believe they had nothing in common.

      3. Jake Mudrosti

        One can make it sound as logically disconnected as one wishes, if one squashes everything into a deliberately reduced formulation.

        Surely, though, no one can contest the sheer rollicking fun being had by the ever-growing ranks on the sub r/the_donald. They’ve perfected and redeployed the Stewart/Salon “point and laugh” tribal recipe that actually did cause verifiable damage to the Clinton brand (in addition to other things).

        Clinton backers are making a huge issue of the thin vote margins that “cost” Clinton the election, because it currently enables feel-good Stein-whacking. But in so doing, they’re basically offering all the support that commenter RenoDino would need to argue the validity of the chosen wording “The formula Stewart created resulted in a Trump win.” So there’s that.

      4. Plenue

        The Daily Show and things like it exude smug. They don’t educate anyone, all they do is mock and insult. And ultimately they never address anything substantive, or engage in any kind of systemic critic. Every episode is just “let’s laugh at the latest stupid thing the Republicans did, hahahaha, look how dumb they are!”. They’re a self-indulgent circle-jerk for their college age, socially liberal, Starbucks drinking audience. They’re part of the echo-chamber that led to the Democrats getting their asses utterly kicked this election.

        Proper satire relentlessly attacks those in power, and it never punches down, and seldom even sideways. It’s inherently the enemy of those in charge. Whereas Jon Stewart once had Obama on for an interview.

      5. RenoDino

        I see an expressway that goes right through Stewart to Trump. His show is everything Trump campaigned on. Stupid, lying media. Clueless bureaucrats. The foolishness of identity politics (Our Black Correspondent). Sincerely championing veterans and first responders. Highly critical of the establishment in every form. Constantly decrying the hypocrisy of both parties.

        Stewart was so good at it, he became the main news source for many Americans. He tore through the carefully constructed facade surrounding the hive mind that runs things and showed it to be brittle, decayed and easy to knock off its rails.

        Stewart considered Trump The Biggest Joke Ever. He still doesn’t see that Trump used everyone of Stewart’s ideas and tactics to achieve his goals.

        Steward’s sixteen-year artillery barrage created a great target of opportunity for Trump. Timing and Trump did the rest.

    3. Patricia

      Stewart and Colbert were as good as we could get on corporate media—and they sometimes they were hilarious. I will always respect Colbert for his shtick at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, even though his pertinence has since been smothered.

      Stewart mentioned, at link, that while we were laughing and snarking, the Repubs were busy getting elected locally. Fair enough.

      But our problem, more, is that we did not presume both bubble-gum-chewing and walking. And we assumed that Stewart/Colbert were the only ones around to do ‘whatever’, as if this country isn’t loaded with people well to the left side of middle.

      1. Patricia

        To add that I’m not putting the big burden on voters, either. For a long time, we’ve been loaded up trying to get through our days. We can add more only when things look desperate, which they didn’t appear to be, for most people, what with all the Obama soma.

        Now things do, and now we will.

      1. Aumua

        Jimmy Dore better than Colbert? Puhleeze.. I admit not seeing much of Dore’s schtick, but the bits I have seen don’t indicate much of what I’d call a sense of humor. Colbert at his height was downright hilarious, even genius. He did not pull punches either, at least within his sphere.

        I guess it’s apples and oranges though, and it’s just a different world now. Maybe Dore’s more effective in some sense, but I’ve been turned off by everything I’ve heard him say so far.

    4. FluffytheObeseCat

      First, the “fake news” meme is bullshit. The amount of propaganda in our news mix has not suddenly quadrupled; it’s been a fairly consistent and large part of online “news” for years now.

      Second, the linked article was a disjointed, poorly editing hot mess, but every direct quote of Stewart was pretty unexceptional. To the (very limited) extent that it delineated Stewart’s thinking, it showed him to be a reasonable, even a thoughtful, guy.

      Third, despite the above, I believe you are largely right; comedy news is immensely powerful among people under 40 and it’s way too solicitous of the existing east coast power structure. That was particularly true of Stewart when he was the face of the Daily Show. He constantly pulled his punches….. at least those punches that should have landed hard on the New York cultural and fianancial elites.

      Fourth, Trump is, was, and will always be a gigantic heel. Everyone in New York knows it. That – rather than their contemptible disdain for the common guy – is what drives most of the derision. He deserves their derision. Despite their other flaws, their hubris, Trump deserved their mockery. On his own crummy account.

      1. Aumua

        I was just thinking earlier that fake news is old news. Since the inception of the Internet there has been a need for skepticism, discernment, critical thinking, checking of sources and corroboration of disparate source, because anyone can say literally anything on a webpage and it can get picked and passed around as truth. The need is greater now than ever but at the same there is so much information that the task of checking it all for veracity is becoming impossible. Just look at the multitude of links on this site every day. There is no way that the proprietors can possibly check them for accuracy or good intention, even with the commentariat ostensibly helping.

    5. Plenue

      I will say though, it’s refreshing to see a liberal not engage in blanket vilification of Trump voters, and at least appear open to the possibility that there was more involved here than ‘hate winning’.

      On that same wavelength, Sanders is currently touring for his book, and he’s doubly down on his position that not all Trump voters are bigots, and that economics was at the heart of this election:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pg9hkEIhO8

      Good for him.

      …this guy really could have won, couldn’t he? Even now it’s blatantly apparent he was the last chance to salvage the empire before it went off the cliff.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in Tucson, the Sanders book is available at the library. When I put my name on the reserve list, I was #59.

      2. Carla

        “Good for him.

        …this guy really could have won, couldn’t he? Even now it’s blatantly apparent he was the last chance to salvage the empire before it went off the cliff.”

        I think you’re right, he probably could have won. But I disagree that saving the empire was the to-be-desired result here.

        As far as I’m concerned, that is Bernie’s problem. He wants to save this particular capitalist system from itself.

        Changing the fundamental power structure? WAY above his pay grade.

    6. aab

      So you’re saying the comedian who pointed out that corporate media is fraudulent is responsible for a someone employed and then elevated by corporate media winning the Presidential election?

      You skip about fifty steps in your chain of proof. Cute. Also completely wrong.

      Jon Stewart didn’t create neoliberalism. He didn’t pass laws enabling plutocratic media consolidation. He didn’t deregulate the banking system. He didn’t get elected to the most powerful political office in the country (and arguably the world) promising to help the little guy and then instead, protect bankers after they broke the world economy and went about stealing people’s homes, after bankers and corporations had already stolen their savings and shipped their jobs away, facilitated by Democratic politicians who were also not Jon Stewart.

      Jon Stewart didn’t violate the espionage act as part of a broader corrupt conspiracy to sell government access, weapons and military action out of the State Department for private gain. He didn’t conspire to force an unfit criminal tainted by all the sins of the Democratic Party in recent decades into the nomination.

      Swatting away all this ludicrous deflection from those with true responsibility for how we got here is so easy it’s a bit boring. But it seems necessary still at this point. It’s a shame, though. We would all be better served if folks like you started focusing on the real enemies of progress, who are not Jon Stewart.

      1. witters

        Sam Kriss on this: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/10/keith_olbermann_and_our_vogue_for_eviscerations_and_epic_rants.html

        1. aab

          Thanks! I admit it, I love getting compliments, especially here.

          I’m a she. The most boring kind: cis, hetero, married mom. Online gender is interesting. I was thinking just the other day that I’m assuming Lambert is male because of the screen name, but I don’t think Lambert has ever offered up any personal detail that I have seen to back that assumption up. Even when I use my real name, people sometimes assume I’m male because I’m an, uh, assertive arguer.

          1. ambrit

            Cultural conditioning will do that to one. Lots of assumptions from little evidence.
            And, having been married to a “cis, hetero, married mom,” for almost forty years now, I most definitely assure you that women are not boring in the least. There’s always a surprise lurking around the next corner in any relationship.
            Keep tossing out those curve balls and sliders; we’ll manage somehow.

    7. HopeLB

      I disagree. It was not fake news that put Trumpy Small Hands into power. It was his sly pilfering of Bernie’s ideas ie., stopping TPP, stopping needless wars, stopping outsourcing, damning the rigged bankster economic system, not throwing people off of Medicare, investing in US infrastructure etc., Now Trumpy is enthroning the usual status quoers and throwing his base under the bus (IN RAHM STYLE). The MSM gave him free coverage but this is not fake news, possibly because they worked with Clinton to get the most “beatable ” Repub. candidate. It back fired because Trump stated majority/populist views as had Bernie. But Bernie who the MSM largely froze out, would have actually worked to implement policies for the middle and lower classes. Trump was all air.

  9. cocomaan

    For those who were ignorant about what Jerri-Lynn was saying about the East India Company and animal fat, check it out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_Indian_Rebellion_of_1857

    The spark that led to a mutiny in several sepoy companies was the issue of new gunpowder cartridges for the Enfield rifle in February, 1857. British officers insisted that the new cartridges be used by both Muslim and Hindu soldiers, but the cartridges were made from cow and pig fat. Loading the Enfield required tearing open the greased cartridge with one’s teeth. This insulted both Hindu and Muslim religious practices. Underlying grievances over British taxation and recent land annexations by the BEIC were ignited by the sepoy mutineers and within weeks dozens of units of the Indian army joined peasant armies in widespread rebellion.

    If I can take Jerri-Lynn’s analogy one step further, I’d say that the last sentence is instrumental too: there are other reasons people are upset about things sometimes. Teasing those out requires hindsight.

    Learned something interesting this morning!

  10. Carolinian

    The Links article by Counterpunch co-editor Joshua Frank is somewhat interesting since he says he ed PropOrNot

    After a brief email exchange, PropOrNot admitted it was wrong in listing CounterPunch and promptly removed us from their list of Russian pawns. In the initial email to the group I inquired why we were included in their list in the first place and provided them with evidence — a link to an article I wrote which was critical of Russia’s involvement in Syria — that CounterPunch was not in the pocket of Russians, nor were we Putin’s “useful idiots”.

    Frank quotes from their email response

    If someone s us and the resulting conversation makes clear that they understand, for example, how Putin’s Russia is a revisionist authoritarian wannabe-imperialist kleptocracy that uses ‘fake news’ as online propaganda, then we have a lot of common ground. That factors into our understanding of the merits, but more importantly, becomes a basis for constructive movement forward.

    And observes

    Huh? That isn’t very sound methodology if you ask me, more like a shallow smear campaign manufactured by amateurs. PropOrNot will consider taking these sites off their blacklist, not based on the sites’ content but on whether or not they ed PropOrNot directly and if “they understand” Putin is a bad hombre?

    In other words PropOrNot is that internet thing called a troll and the only diff between them and the trolls who appear in comment threads is that the Washington Post has amplified their bs to a public libel via Timberg’s article. Therefore the sites listed are caught between the usual and correct response to trolls (don’t them) and the necessary defense of their free speech rites and reputation.

    The WaPo is the villain here–not only trolls but trolls with lawyers. Will the Post’s appeal to PropOrNot’s anonymous experts cloak them with “absence of malice”?

  11. Sara K.

    Here is another link about the phone call to President Tsai, by somebody who knows a lot more about Taiwanese politics than any mainstream English-language journalist:
    http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/2016/12/trump-calls-tsai-world-commentariat-iq.html

    1. Jim Haygood

      Great stuff.

      Effectively, Taiwan got a 30-year head start on the PRC, during the 1949-1979 period which the mainland spent isolated behind the Bamboo Curtain.

      A old-hand diplomat at the American Institute in Taiwan (the quasi US embassy created in 1979) told me that when he arrived in 1962, hardly any vehicles were on the streets of Taipei, other than military trucks. The US was still distributing food aid to Taiwan’s impoverished population.

      Now Taiwan is democratic, rich (with a world-class high tech industry), and as Turton notes, offers universal health care. Unlike the PRC, Taiwan sees itself as an ally rather than a rival of the US.

      Why wouldn’t Trump want to reach out to a country that’s as good a friend of the US as any?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you don’t live there, you don’t know what people there think.

        Even if you live there, you may know your reality (as much as anyone can…or can anyone?), but do you know what others around you, over there, think? Can you know my reality?

        So, I am guessing here. Like people everywhere, they want peace and prosperity. What they don’t want is being someone else’s Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier. Reasonable to think that they don’t want to be anyone’s tripwire, nor be another ‘boat’ to create an incident in a gulf somewhere.

        1. ambrit

          The Mainland China versus Island China history is a cautionary tale. The erstwhile “Peoples State” morphed into a semi dictatorial Ur Capitalist Utopia while the Warlord Province In Revolt became a western style Capitalist Socialist Hybrid.
          Marx and Lenin are spinning in their graves, to the Left of course, while Smith and Bentham et. al. are spinning in their graves, to the Right, thus, the two groups setting up counter currents in whatever field they “exist” in, a balanced whole results.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I think it’s a brilliant move by Trump. “Hey I’ll talk to anybody, we want a good relationship with everyone, it was just a phone call”. Bypassing all of the past policy baggage and especially bypassing the War Preparation Advance Team State Department. It’s also classic A/B testing, if the mainland Chinese get too snippy he can easily adjust, he has ample “plausible deniability”.

            1. ambrit

              True, and, he’s probably put the PRC on notice that they cannot treat Taiwan as their “Enemy of Convenience” too much for now.
              Now, if only Trump told the Vietnamese that he would not look askance at them if they claimed Hainan Island. Solidarity with the Li People and all that. This is not that far fetched an idea. China and Vietnam fought a short border war and numerous “minor clashes” between 1979 and 1990. Hainan Island was always considered a place to send exiles and other unwanted people during Chinese history. With the present Chinese Dotted Line claim of all the South China Sea, a counter claim against Hainan, which has generally been lumped in with the South China Sea islands generally, it being the largest and most northerly such, would be poetic justice of the highest sort.

        2. Christopher Fay

          And being an American living here, Taiwan, I’d venture they don’t want to be the latest conquest of the Communist Oligarchy. They consider themselves better off culturally than the Mainland Chinese.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I have read that the Chinese tourists have stopped coming (enough of them), after a busload of them were burned to death and the president did not show up or send condolences to the Mainland tourists, but to the Taiwanese bus driver whose murder-suicide took those innocent lives. It is hurting so bad, some of their mayors had to strike peace-making deals.

            In many ways, Taiwan has been conquered by Mainland China. I also read at any given time, there are more than 1,000,000 Taiwanese in China, vacationing, retiring, doing business (many factory owners have moved their operations to China over the last 3 decades), studying, visiting relatives, etc.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Thank you for the link. It’s refreshing to get actual, honest on the ground information as opposed to the paid-programming stenography of the professional press.

    3. Vatch

      Just think how furious the Chinese would have been if the Ancient One in the new “Doctor Strange” movie were a Tibetan, as in the comic books. Fortunately, in the movie, the character is a Celtic woman. Whew! We sure dodged a bullet!

    4. uncle tungsten

      Thank you that was perfect antidote link to counter the lunacy of the MSM. I guess Obummer was at the eighth hole at the time and still digging.

  12. rjs

    re: The British data-crunchers who say they helped Donald Trump to win Spectator. Snake oil salesmen or….? I’m curious to see what readers have to say about this.

    profiling questionnaires from Cambridge Analytica have been ubiquitous on Facebook all year…they are disguised as surveys as to “what kind of animal are you” or “what flower are you”, etc and ask dozens of personal questions which are answered honestly because those caught up in the game don’t realize they’re being profiled…i saw several people, including some of my friends, being taken in by these questionnaires..

  13. Runciman Takes a Wisner

    Runciman is full of shit. He’s giving you the CIA line.

    There’s no nuance to the definition of a failed state. A failed state is one that does not meet its responsibility to protect humans in its power from crimes against humanity or genocide. The US government committed the crime against humanity of systematic and widespread torture and murder in a global network of secret death camps at least through 2014. The US government’s collusion with BP’s ecocidal Deepwater Horizon experiments is arguably another crime against humanity. Institutionalized predation on impoverished black Americans for fines and prison labor will eventually be acknowledged as another crime against humanity.

    The only wrinkle here is that the US functions quite smoothly as a criminal enterprise, at least for collaborating elites. The US profits from its derelictions of state duty and diverts the proceeds into repressive capacity. To the extent that state failure is a matter of degree, there is an intermediate state preceding failure. A weak state is one that substitutes repression for protection. It does not meet its responsibility to protect, but it compensates for its failure by imposing some sort of order. North Korea is the classic case, but the US fits equally well.

    Runciman gets around the blindingly obvious reality of US state crime with two traditional tricks: he personalizes the state’s vital interest in impunity with a boogeyman, Trump; and he parrots baseless grade-school civics pieties about America’s institutions. Trump will be a puppet and CIA will continue to run the country for kleptocratic elites. CIA will continue to undermine institutional integrity until its regime is dismantled and replaced. And Runciman will be Brennan’s useful idiot for the rest of his contemptible life.

    1. Jim

      I find the Runciman analysis much more interesting.

      He argues that the US, structurally, is far from a failed state because:

      1) the country is still far more prosperous(despite its corruption) than other states where democracy has failed.
      2) Significant civil disorder is unlikely because in the U.S. the medium age is close to 40 years whereas significant civil disorder tends to happen in societies where the medium age is closer to 20.

      Runciman also argues that the U.S. is still far from a failed state because:

      He believes there still exists a highly dynamic American state structure which probably has the functional capacity to ride out/survive any Trump incompetencies.

      He also maintains that these still viable political institutions will provide Trump with the cover to pretend to be draining the swamp while, in fact, allowing for the continued erosion of American democracy..

      But simultaneously Runciman also argues that the real long-term threats to American Democracy will continue to fester despite whatever Trump may accomplish.

      He maintains that increasing numbers of working age Americans have given up hope and that the more hidden violence in American society (black incarceration and the increasingly self-inflicted white on white violence of suicide, and drug/opiate abuse in more and more sections of the country (particularly the Rust belt, the South, and Appalachia) will continue under Trump.

      His key prediction is that when the Trump bubble bursts, there still won’t have been any true reckoning with reality (simply lots of bluster) and that the sense of American betrayal will be greater than ever.

      Then may come the possibility of the end of democracy.

      1. Karl Kolchack

        “Significant civil disorder is unlikely because in the U.S. the medium age is close to 40 years whereas significant civil disorder tends to happen in societies where the medium age is closer to 20.”

        Did Runciman not notice that the only Bundy follower to go nuts to the point of getting killed by the feds was in his 70s? Given that many Trump supporters are not only the angriest about the economy but also the most heavily armed members of the population, I think we very much are on the precipice of open insurrection.

  14. DJG

    Sono scettico (from today’s New York Times):

    ‘The referendum proposes a reduction of the Senate to 95 elected members from 315, along with five members nominated by the president. Of the 95, 74 would be chosen from representatives of Italy’s 20 regions, while 21 would be chosen from mayors. The Senate would have a mostly consultative role, and most bills would only need the approval of the lower house.

    ‘The referendum would provide for the definitive abolition of Italian provinces — a level of governance below that of the regions — and transfer some powers now overseen by the regions — like civil protection, strategic infrastructure and energy, and major transportation — to the central government in Rome, mostly reversing a change undertaken more than a decade ago, which devolved power to the regions.’

    Would you vote for indirect election of the U.S. Senate? Why should the Italians? And if they reject the referendum, is it truly a Eurozone crisis? Or is Renzi just a member of the too-clever-by-half club that includes many of our own Democrats as well as the “wonky” Republicans like too-clever-in-his-own-mind Paul Ryan?

    1. Dave

      Why are you quoting that discredited rag as though it were some oracle?

      The hidden truth in a name: What do these have in common?

      “Monkeys write”
      “Stymie knower”
      “Enemy Works It”
      “Men writ yokes”

    2. Kurt Sperry

      The proposed elimination of the Provincial layer of government is quite radical. It would be similar to eliminating the county level of government from existence here–and this is not even the most discussed feature of the proposed Constitutional reform! A lot of governmental processes are currently conducted at the provincial level in Italy and a lot of changes would be forced to hand over, fund and maintain them post-referendum. When you look at an Italian address it has a two letter code within parentheses. That is the province, usually the name of the largest local city or town abbreviated.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Palin opining before “the terms of the deal are made public,” like so many of us (including yours truyl) here do.

    Maybe she is one of the good guys (and gals) now.

    Though Trump would be one (good guy) as well, should he nominate her for a cabinet post, after this.

    1. cwaltz

      People are rarely one dimensional and sometimes good or bad are monikers we give people depending on our opinion of their opinions.

      I happen to agree with Sarah Palin on this issue. I’m sure I’ll disagree with her on other issues though.

  16. allan

    For Apple and others, tin supply chain has ties to rebel-held Myanmar mine [Reuters]

    From a remote corner of northeastern Myanmar, an insurgent army sells tin ore to suppliers of some of the world’s largest consumer companies.

    More than 500 companies, including leading brands such as smartphone maker Apple, coffee giant Starbucks and luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co, list among their suppliers Chinese-controlled firms that indirectly buy ore from the Man Maw mine near Myanmar’s border with China, a Reuters examination of the supply chain found.

    The mine is controlled by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which the United States placed under sanctions for alleged narcotics trafficking in 2003. …

    This potentially puts companies, which also include industrial conglomerate General Electric, at risk of violating sanctions that forbid “direct or indirect” dealings with blacklisted groups, according to a former and a serving U.S. official and lawyers with expertise in sanctions enforcement.

    Several sanctions experts said the U.S. government was unlikely to fine companies who unwittingly used the Myanmar tin. Still, it may force them to shift to new suppliers, they said. ….

    “Unwittingly”. A get-out-of-jail card weasel word for the elites, as James Clapper knows.

  17. Stephanie

    “I think of one of the lessons of this book and what we’re talking about is to put satire and culture in its proper place — that controlling a culture is not the same as power. And that while we were all passing around really remarkably eviscerating videos of the Tea Party ― that we had all made great fun of ― [they were] sitting off a highway at a Friendly’s taking over a local school board. And the lesson there is, as much as I love what we did and I liked it, there is a self-satisfaction there that is unwarranted, unearned and not useful.” – Money Quote from the Jon Stewart piece in the Independent

    —————————————————–

    Evangelicals have been plotting school board and city council take-overs since the 80’s at least, if not earlier. I have yet to meet a group of left-leaning folks of any stripe who have the same ideological commitment to taking over local government that the charismatic Catholics and non-denominational mega-churchers of my childhood had, and still have. The difference, maybe, between championing an issue that affects you personally (curriculum or zoning) vs. demonstrating the noblesse oblige that really only requires one to work oneself into a lather over possible Supreme Court appointees? Also, perhaps, the difference between meeting weekly to discuss values and issues that affect one’s day-to-day life vs. no commitment to any non-professional association at all (I would guess most of the small-town or suburban Midwestern equivalents of Stewart’s Friendly’s revolutionaries probably first met at their local monthly inter-denominational prayer breakfast).

    As Stewart points out, it is easy to Fargo-ize Biblical literalists and other non-urban, non-coastal sorts, but sharing clips the next day on Facebook isn’t organizing, and perhaps more importantly, it doesn’t create real solidarity.

  18. dk

    A couple of notes on The British data-crunchers who say they helped Donald Trump to win

    Snake oil makes as fine a lubricant or fuel as most other organic oils, and attribution of additional magical qualities does not inhibit these properties.

     

    … Cambridge Analytica also has ‘4,000–5,000 data points’ — pieces of information — on every single adult in the US.

    No they don’t, nulls don’t count (mostly). They have 4,000–5,000 such data fields per record, but very few if any records have all values populated, certainly not every record. This is the typical marketing crap one hears from any data vendor selling their product, but it doesn’t mean the product is necessarily garbage.
     

    From the comments by Oczkowski, his data programme used factor aggregation to identify communities where a Trump appearance, or other campaign action, would have the most impact on final turnout and selection. Here’s an example, although there are several ways to do this:

    Town A has 30 identified Trump supporters, and a population of 1,000. Town B also has 30 identified Trump supporters, and a population of 2,000. It’s a no-brainer for Trump to go speak at the (potentially) larger venue at Town B.

    But let’s look at the number of additional voters in Trump supporter’s households (same residential address). In Town A, Trump supporters have 45 co-residents, in Town B there are only 20. In terms of this simple social graph, town A’s Trump supporters have a greater potential to influence other voters than Trump supporters in town B.

    Also, proportionately, Town A has twice the rate of Trump support as town B. This suggests that a venue in town B will have to be twice the size (and a higher cost) than a similar venue in town A, to net roughly the same number of additional Trump supporters. Cost is not a negligible factor; lower per-vote costs means that the same dollar can reach more voters throughout the campaign.

    These are just two indications among many, but they both suggest that a visit to town A is likely to net more Trump votes (and/or suppress more Clinton/other votes) than an appearance at Town B. Absent other overriding criteria, the candidate should visit town A.

    Does this kind of thing (microtargeting, aggregate targeting) work? I’ve used it with considerable success, and shown higher conversion rates compared to other approaches. It’s not a strategy by itself, it just enhances the impact of an already effective strategy by optimizing resources. These kinds of effects work in the cumulative aggregate, they can certainly be shown to fail in specific cases.

  19. pricklyone

    Maybe if Palin keeps throwing around ‘socialism’ and ‘crony capitalism’ in the same sentence, she will come to understand the connections a little better. Of course, CC has made her wealthy, so maybe she understands just fine.

    1. MDBill

      During a visit to the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh on October 13th, the President, known for his smooth, glib reassurances so successful at placating the public, suggested that “we are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to” and that “democracy requires citizens to be able to sift through lies and distortions” and further that “those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world.” The President continued that “there has to be some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests.”

      That’s some really remarkable word-salad. Certainly does sound like a precursor to what we’re seeing now, doesn’t it?

      1. Skip Intro

        Is he clueless or just mocking his clueless stenographers with the use of the word ‘Truthiness’?

        Mr. Obama, I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

  20. Jerry Denim

    Very bad news in the labor/race-to-the-bottom beat today. The Obama DOT has approved Norwegian Air’s application to fly from the United States to any EU destination, territory, protectorate etc. Norwegian Air is a bifurcated company with one half consisting of a standard Nordic airline begrudgingly conforming to laws, regulations union policy etc. and another half that is a free-wheeling, ‘flag-of-convenience’, sky pirate with long haul aircraft (Boeing 777) registered in regulatory lax, tax haven Ireland. “Norwegian” then staffs these airplanes with a motley band of desperate, non-union, poorly-trained pilots and flight attendants hired from slave wage developing countries in Asia (Philippines, etc.) or peripheral, third-tier European ones with shattered economies and hollowed out labor markets. (Greece)

    http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/308599-norwegian-air-wins-final-approval-to-fly-to-us

    This makes absolutely no sense on a number of levels. I suspect a good portion of Bjorn Kjos’s (Norwegian Air CEO and one-fifth owner) fortune has been laundered to the right people in Washington through lobbyists and our lax campaign finance system, and perhaps a quid pro quo promise of a large Boeing order greased the skids for this approval, but this is still a monumentally bad decision. Granting a fake, alter-ego company with a ‘flag of convenience’ business model the right to operate inside the United States endangers the entire United States Airline Industry just like the Maritime Shipping industry before it. Passenger Aviation is a rare and valuable industry that is disproportionally heavy on labor, and not just any McJobs type of labor, we’re talking about a highly unionized industry with good pay and benefits that employees hundreds of thousands of Americans directly and millions indirectly. As an example contrast American Airlines piddling 23 billion market capitalization and whopping 118,000 employees to Facebook’s whopping 323 billion market cap and piddling 12,000 employees. We need less Silicone Valley Unicorns and more Airlines in this country but our stupid, corrupt government is coddling one and strangling another.

    Letting the government commit economic sabotage of this level for a tiny bit of lobbying payola or in the furtherance of some crack-pot ideology is final death-knell stupid. I hope somebody can stop this, Congress, Trump, Bernie Sanders, Batman, I don’t know.

    1. oho

      sigh, truly retarded as it hurts unionized American, United and Delta the most. Can’t compete w/flight attendents paid Ukraine-level wages.

      Thanks for making me actually feel sorry for the Big 3 airlines!

      1. Jerry Denim

        It’s not just the big three legacy airlines and trans-Atlantic markets that will suffer. Norwegian Air is expected to transfer the registry of many of its 737-800 series aircraft currently being flown by *mostly* unionized Norwegian crews out of Oslo over to an Irish registration where the aircraft will be operated by god-knows-who from Cork or somewhere similar over to JFK and BOS. The aircraft will then be used to do Carribean island turns from the northeast US. Any island with a European affiliation (most of them) is fair game. This decision is definitely going to sting JetBlue and some other LCCs in the very near immediate term as well. This decision puts downward wage pressure on the entire sector and threatens many jobs/routes.

        1. Dugh

          Race to the bottom indeed. Nice touch 0bama. When more of these half rate children of the glass start plowing them in closer to home, maybe people will start paying attention.

        2. Carla

          Thank you for this reporting. Have sent it on to friends and family, but of course, what can they do?

      2. UserFriendly

        My Mom is a Delta flight attendant, they have never been unionised. They had a vote to after the Northwest merger and voted it down. They got a raise recently, I think. The pilots are unionised.

      3. notabanker

        As a user (customer? Ha!) of their services, it is impossible for me to feel sorry for the Big 3.

  21. mk

    Goldman Sachs is the big Dow winner of the Trump rally Market Watch

    ~~~~~~ Goldman SACKS-USA!!

    True Story.

  22. Kim Kaufman

    I’m passing this along… anyone else know about this (don’t have time to go through comments)?

    House Quietly Passes Bill Targeting “Russian Propaganda” Websites

    by Tyler Durden
    Dec 3, 2016 11:55 AM

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-02/house-quietly-passes-bill-targeting-russian-propaganda-websites

    Is this what it’s about?

    Trump Enrages the War Party

    He’s challenging 70 years of US foreign policy – and they hate him for it!
    by Justin Raimondo, July 22, 2016

    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2016/07/21/trump-enrages-war-party/

    1. Dugh

      H.R. 6393

      501.Committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence over peoples and governments
      (a)Definitions In this section:

      (1)Active measures by Russia to exert covert influence
      The term active measures by Russia to exert covert influence means activities intended to influence a person or government that are carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly, including the following:

      (A)Establishment or funding of a front group.
      (B)Covert broadcasting.
      (C)Media manipulation.
      (D)Disinformation and forgeries.
      (E)Funding agents of influence.
      (F)Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
      (G)Assassinations.
      (H)Terrorist acts.

      1. UserFriendly

        Voting No:
        Ellison
        Gabbard
        Grijalva

        http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll593.xml
        At least some of the Bernie Endorsers wern’t down with it.

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    The insensitivity of Britain’s monetary authorities to those opposed to the use of animal fats in the nation’s currency, in this case in the plastic 5 pound notes, should be the subject of broader public discussion. I question whether this was an intentional act and part of the broader “War on Cash” being conducted by some governments, including the government of India, which are seeking greater social, economic and political control over their citizens by limiting the acceptability of cash currency.

    In Britain’s case, besides vegans and animal rights activists, there are many immigrants who have religious views that hold the handling of beef or pork products is unclean and therefore deeply offensive. In fact, as Jerri-Lynn Scofield alluded in her comment to the subject link, it is said that the rumored use of pork and beef fat in bullets was the trigger that caused the bloody 1857 Sepoy Rebellion by native troops against the British East India Company in North-Central India.

    1. uncle tungsten

      As I recall the bullets were sealed with a pork fat wrapper that the troops had to bite off and spit out. Before that the east India company had finally relented to reformist pressures and allow proselytizing christians to set up shop and ‘convert’ the muslims and hindus. The fat dipped bullets were the final indignity and rebellion followed.

      A fair cover of the events is the Last Mughal by William Dalrymple. Sad.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        A very sad story indeed, but I am nonetheless glad you mentioned Dalrymple’s Last Mughal book– a fantastic read. This forms a loose historical trilogy with two others he’s written, White Mughals, and Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42. These can be read in any order and I commend them highly to readers.

    2. windsock

      http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/a-very-precise-calculation-of-exactly-how-many-cows-are-being-murdered-for-the-new-fivers

    3. windsock

      P.S. Not only UK. And not only money.

      https://sqwabb.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/why-theres-beef-tallow-in-our-money-and-vice-versa/

  24. oho

    Exhibit #34,302 re. the whacked out-of-touch Democratic Party—defending mainland China over a democratically elected Taiwan.

    ‘The Democratic National Committee said Friday: “Donald Trump is either too incompetent to understand that his foolish phone call threatens our national security, or he’s doing it deliberately because he reportedly wants to build hotels in Taiwan to pad his own pockets.”’

  25. Vatch

    Very sad about Andrew Sachs. Fawlty Towers has great characters — Manuel, Basil, The Major, and many others.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched each Fawlty Towers episode– and they always make me laugh, even though I know exactly what’s coming next.

  26. UserFriendly

    Iceland’s pirate party possibly coming to power…..
    Wasn’t their an MMTer that had ties with Iceland? I want to say Michael Hudson? I know Amy Goodman is friends with Birgitta Jónsdóttir. Could we be seeing the first MMT government coming to power? Could someone get Amy Goodman to put an MMTer in with Jónsdóttir just to be safe? This could be huge!

    1. Kurt Sperry

      I’ve got a friend who is in the parliament for the Pirate Party in Iceland, if you have any *really* short, simple questions of the sort that can be replied to in a sentence or two I can ask him. He’s rather busy at the moment.

      1. UserFriendly

        Who is advising the party on economics? Have they heard of MMT?

        From the guardian article the sticking point for the Left Green Movement not forming government was taxes. If they have someone who knows MMT then they shouldn’t worry about raising taxes if that would allow them to form government.

        If the government was willing to implement MMT I’m sure Stephanie Kelton or one of her associates would gladly offer to help.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Michael Hudson has advised Iceland, I think specifically the Left-Greens. I thought he was more of a Marxist than an MMT-er, but he’s appeared with Keen.

          I don’t understand why the Left-Greens and Pirates aren’t the obvious coalition, but I’m not there. The L-Gs actually have more votes – they came in second, a huge recovery.

          1. Lambert Strether

            The two strains of thought should really merge. The goto move for funding/redistribution among many marxist-inflected thinkers is “tax the rich.”* But since taxes don’t fund (Federal) spending, that doesn’t make sense. (It also injects austerity-thinking into a putatively left program, never a good move.)

            If Stein had picked Stephanie Kelton for Treasury Secretary, I might have taken the GP more seriously. But, and as usual, an operational capability fail (of the GP is to be considered a party instead of a movement that with a perennial candidate).

            * Indeed, that rich should be taxed, in order to (a) prevent them from buying the political class and the state with their loose cash, (b) to prevent or reverse the development of an aristocracy of inherited wealth, and (c) for the sake of their children, who often incur severe psychological and even spiritual damage.

            1. Skip Intro

              and tax the rich d) to make sure they sink their wealth into the productive uses society chooses through the creation of tax incentives for various types of spending, rather than just hoarding or conspicuous consumption.

              1. UserFriendly

                I’m all for taxing the rich, but I’m willing to be less insistent on it if it means we could actually see an MMT government.

          2. UserFriendly

            The 2 right wing parties were just shy of having enough to form government. Same for the combo of 4 left wing parties. Which leaves the centrist party with like 4 seats as the king maker. Unfortunately, that party seams really gung ho on joining the eurozone. I just really want someone with MMT background to get a hold of someone from there. I have a feeling that once one country implements MMT the rest might see it working and do the same. The world would be SOO much better off.

      2. UserFriendly

        *Shakes fist at sky net* lets try rewording this,

        Who is advising them on economics? Has your friend or the advisor heard of MMT?

        From the article, the LGM didn’t form government over disagreement on taxes. A MMT principle is that taxes don’t fund government spending. That might allow them the flexibility to form government.

        I’m sure Yves could get you info for Bill Black, or Steve Keen to explain in detail.

  27. KFritz

    The antidote is a Southern Ground Hornbill, from the southern African savanna–a vulnerable to threatened species. The Wikipedia article is good and succinct.

  28. Micky9finger

    Re:Is this how democracy ends?
    David Runciman

    “His immediate agenda is to get a massive infrastructure bill through Congress, along with big tax cuts. There are few barriers in his way. He can rely on Republicans to deliver the tax cuts and Democrats to support the infrastructure projects. The short-term boost this stimulus gives the economy can then be used to buy him time while he fails to get to grips with his other campaign pledges, on immigration, on manufacturing jobs, on taking the fight to the terrorists, and on sharing the love at home. He may even be able to claim for a while that by offering something to each side of the partisan divide he is starting to bridge it. But all he will be doing is papering over the gaping cracks. Tax cuts coupled with unfunded government spending will fuel inflation and create the conditions for a future crash.”

    This is a dog whistle. It is becoming such a tiresome meme (I really dislike this overused word. Ok I deserve abuse)
    Do we even want to listen to anyone who uses this to convince us how much he knows about economics?

  29. uncle tungsten

    Water protectors and an odd parallel from Nigeria: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/nigerian-army-closing-boko-haram-enclave/

  30. Kim Kaufman

    Has this already been posted here?

    December 2, 2016
    Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites

    by Pam Martens – Russ Martens

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/02/timbergs-tale-washington-post-reporter-spreads-blacklist-of-independent-journalist-sites/

  31. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated Jelle Bruinsma’s review of Greg Grandin’s book “Kissinger’s Shadow”, and Bruinsma’s analysis of Kissinger’s legacy in Jacobin. I agree with Senator Sanders’ view of Kissinger. Both the question in the title of article, “How Kissinger Won”, and the reasons why he continues to wield policy influence, remain unanswered.

  32. lambert strether

    Green Party Switches Strategy in Pennsylvania Recount Bid ABC

    A Green Party-backed campaign changed its strategy to force a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election, won by Republican Donald Trump, and said late Saturday night that it will seek help in the federal courts, rather than the state courts.

    Nobody could have predicted they’d fail at the state level.

    I thought the Green’s lawyer pushing the Clintonite/The Blob line that “Evil Rooskis did it!” was the bestest part of Stein’s Pennsylvania. It’s been such a clarifying year!

    To be fair, pushing that line probably brought in plenty of bucks from bubble-dwelling revanchist Clintonites, now on Stein’s mailing list.

    No danger of pulling the GP to the right there, eh?

    1. Karl Kolchack

      I was planning on voting for Stein, but ultimately decided that the Green Party’s lack of seriousness about winning elections made it not worth the wait to stand in the long lines. Since then, she has made me very happy that I stayed home. Notwithstanding that the money raised could have been used for much more worthwhile causes, had I wanted to help Hillary win I would have voted for her.

      1. Skip Intro

        The money raised for the recount would not have been raised for any other purposes. It was a play that allowed Clinton worshippers another couple weeks in the comfortable denial/bargaining phases. Very clever to take cash from people entering the bargaining phase. Has it been done elsewhere?

        1. Lambert Strether

          That’s exactly it. No doubt when this effort goes down in flames — though who knows what will happen at the Federal level; I wonder who the judge will be? — (some) Clintonites will move on to depression, which should finally lead to a welcome period of silence and reflection, and then to acceptance (depending, of course, on funding, which should be cut off from Clintonites immediately for the good of the party).

          1. ambrit

            I, being a Contrary Old Bugger am waiting for many of the Clintonites to move on into the “Self Termination Phase.” (“Oh boy! Gee whilikers! It’s a D.I.Y. Guillotine Kit!”) Clintonites should have more than just their funding cut off. *Knits furiously, muttering French imprecations.* (“Hey monsieur, want to take a tumbril?”)

          2. aab

            Should be, but probably won’t be, given the party just elected Schumer and reelected Pelosi to leadership positions, and there’s some pretty nasty push back against Ellison.

            I do have some hope the donors will close their wallets, though. They sound cranky.

  33. Runciman takes a Wisner

    You are kind, Jim. Runciman starts from the premise that state failure is chaos and disorder. No chaos, no failure. That’s CIA’s premise, and it’s bullshit.

    Under the doctrine of responsibility to protect, state failure is failure to protect humans from the gravest crimes. States can fail out of incapacity or with internationally wrongful acts. Runciman ignores the latter case, which happens to be the USA’s problem. Runciman’s government-issue fixation on scary mobs also conforms to CIA propaganda because CIA focuses on the threat of instability to justify increasing repression: surveillance, domestic clandestine provocation, prosecutorial abuses, and police impunity. Runciman tarts up his propaganda with abstract academic noodling about institutions, but he’s a classic useful idiot, a notoriously dim toff who recites his lines in plummy tones.

  34. Christia

    $30 check in the mail. Wish it had a few more 0s but…. thank you Yves and all for fighting this fight.

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