Links 1/19/17

Nature

Weather Underground

South China Morning Post

World Economic Forum

Bloomberg

NYT. Sounds just like mortage servicers in the foreclosure crisis.

New Zealand Herald (RS). This is about 1MDB and “controversial Malaysian financier Jho Low,” and the mansion is in Los Angeles. (The penthouses, however, are in Manhattan.)

FT. “Commissions.”

Reuters

Olivier Blanchard, Petersen Institute for International Relations. Shorter: Theoretical DSGE models = string theory. Unfair?

Brexit

Guardian

The Conversation (J-LS).

Telegraph

FT

FT

China?

WSJ

The Diplomat

India Demonetization Trainwreck

Scroll (J-LS).

Reuters

WSJ

New Cold War

Walter Kirn, Harpers (DG).

Reuters (Furzy Mouse).

EmptyWheel

Fabius Maximus

Understanding Society

McClatchy. An “informal, inter-agency working group.” Alrighty, then.

USA Today

Trump Transition

Moon of Alabama

NBC

Irish Times (DJRichard).

WSJ. More cost-of-doing-business fines. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

WaPo. But since Obama did nothing at the time but slap a few wrists, this is a nothingburger. What goes around….

The Hill

Truthout

The Hill

* * *

BBC

The Hill

NYT

2016 Post Mortem

Politico. “Third Way is in conversations with the polling firm Global Strategy Group to conduct its first round of research, which will focus on the troubled state of the Democratic brand in large parts of the country.” More on . And Politico.

Bloomberg. Looks like Dem grifters have found a mark. “No limit.” That’s good to know, since the Democrat establishment took a billion dollars and somehow managed to jam it down the toilet of the Clinton campaign…

Hollywood Reporter (J-LS).

Gary Younge, Guardian

Washington Monthly

Jacobin. Assumes facts not in evidence.

Health Care

Advisory Board (GP). GP: “New ways for your medical history to be used against you.”

Class Warfare

In These Times (DK).

The Archdruid Report

Vanity Fair

Bloomberg

Kansas City Star

Le Blog de Thomas Piketty, Le Monde (in English).

GQ

NYT. They do exist!

FT. “Listen to older people who have experienced catastrophes.” Readers, Cfdtrade is here for you….

Antidote du jour ():

Daily Mail: “Huge jumpers knitted by villagers in India to keep elephants warm.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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

208 comments

  1. RabidGandhi

    On Tuesday past, these hallowed pages were the site of a conversation about austerity, wherein one Comrade Haygood bemoaned there being “a whole article about austeritah without defining what it is”.

    À propos of Haygood’s confusion, yesterday Argentina’s new-and-improved National Statistics Institute (INDEC) [1] released its, which– congenially for our purposes– gives a superb x-ray of the first three quarters in the country that has made the most dramatic turn towards austerity in recent history. To wit, the main macroeconomic moves of the Macri administration have been:

    1. “Floating” the Peso, thus immediately devaluing the currency by 40%. This devaluation went straight to consumer prices, doubling the inflation rate.

    2. Cutting energy subsidies to consumers and thereby hiking utility rates and gas prices, by an average of 400% in the case of the former. Again with the subsequent inflationary effects.

    3. Cutting the federal budget by eliminating over 50,000 government jobs.

    Austerity in a nutshell: cut government spending, deregulate, tighten the labour market, and decrease real wages.

    Thus in the Jobs Report we see the immediate effects of this macro shock therapy: a 2% (-128,000) drop in the number of jobs since Macri took office.[1] The reasons for this drastic decrease are obvious to anyone (except those with econ degrees): businesses have seen their costs skyrocket as they are suddenly paying more for utilities and supplies, so they are forced to raise prices (inflation will come in at over 40%, double what was left by the Kirchners). Furthermore and more damagingly, the dual austerity effects of higher costs and lower real wages mean that consumers have lost 15% of their purchasing power, and are thus consuming less. This in turn has led to even more layoffs and a in the first three quarters of the Macri Regime. (RG: what type of capitalists are these, that actively work to close businesses and decrease consumption?)

    So here we have a classical, practical implementation of austerity: ostensibly cut deficits,[3] decrease jobs and labour bargaining power, and increase consumer costs. I hope this clears up any confusion.

    [1] Under the previous administration, the INDEC most likely falsified inflation numbers to lower Argentina’s CPI-chained debt payments, and was therefore not a reliable source. The new regime claims to have reversed all such falsifications, but who knows. That said, I have used INDEC figures because these stats are not congenial to the Macri Administration, and therefore less likely to be false.

    [2] The real number of jobs lost is actually far worse, since the INDEC figure only includes formal jobs, while informal jobs are about a third of the economy. Since the lower income levels are the first to lose their jobs in these cases and informal work is far more common at lower income levels, this 2% number represents less than half of the jobs actually destroyed, with the real figure being closer to 500,000 jobs lost (5%).

    [3] I say “ostensibly” because the proven effect of such budget cuts is that they decrease GDP, thus making the deficit to GDP ratio even higher in spite of the decreased total expenditures.

    1. Milton

      One question – isn’t a currency float (devaluation in this instance) more of what a leftist govt would do, assuming it isnt denominated in foreign currency, and there is ready import substitution thus softening the blow to consumers?

      1. craazyboy

        Really, it means the country was and is broken and no one knows how to fix Humpty Dumpty to anyone’s satisfaction. Then, the next problem, if you’d like another, bondholders hate currency devaluation. So the next time a government goes to the sovereign debt market the new interest rate they will need to pay might be 50% in pesos. Or they would have to borrow in USD. And that’s if anyone in private global debt markets is even interested. This is usually the type of situation where the IMF Gang has to step in.

        Plus, counties that get themselves in this mess usually don’t have a well balanced economy and there is no domestic source for what they have been importing for many years.

      2. Alejandro

        That’s a loaded question, but assuming it’s honest, can you clarify what you presuppose a ” leftist govt” ‘is’.

        1. Milton

          I say Leftist in all sincerity. I feel terrible about the orchestrated effort the corporate and financial elites have pressed on the leftists govts in South America. I was celebrating as country after country was sloughing off the yokes that had been imposed on them. I really wanted an answer to a question, that’s all.

          On a side note – I wish there was a Q and A forum for all things economic.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Hi Milton, it’s a good question and I’m sorry I didn’t have time to answer you yesterday. Basically, devaluation is neither leftist nor rightist per se; it’s rather a policy tool that produces positive effects (such as increased exports) and negative effects (such as higher import costs-> inflation). More importantly, one would expect that a “leftist” government would take counter measures to palliate the negative effects (eg, increasing social spending to bolster aggregate demand and employment, supply chain controls to mitigate inflation…).

            In the particular case of Argentina we can look at two examples:

            (1) In the 1990s, the Menem Administration maintained a strict 1:1 currency peg with the USD. This was of course a disaster, as the strict currency board not only made imports equal in price to domestic products (thus killing domestic industry), but it also prioritised inflation reduction at the cost of decimating jobs, tossing over half the country into poverty.
            Conclusion: Strict currency peg + austerity –> population starves.

            (2) After that whole artifice was brought down in 2001, the peso was freely floated against the USD. Overnight, Argentine exports became very attractive and the country’s industry and its internal market both quickly recovered. At this point, the Kirchner Administrations worked to keep a relatively low peso for the country to remain competitive while also boosting its value at key times to prevent inflationary shocks to the economy. This was a heavily-managed economic/monetary programme that entailed capital controls, government/supplier price accords, and some monetary moves in emergencies, such as open market operations. The result was a decade of consistent growth in the internal market and GDP as a whole.
            Conclusion: a managed exchange rate flexible to internal policy needs can foster equitable growth.

            Of course an example (3) would be what I mentioned in my OP: just devalue, leaving the currency at the mercy of the soi disant free market, and watch the destructive effects on your population.

      3. ChrisAtRU

        The peg to the dollar is what kills in the first place. It forces the govt doing the pegging to acquire FX to maintain the peg. In the name of export (to acquire FX), governments are forced to endure “sound fiscal policy” – decreased/eliminate deficits (in their own currency) or maintain sures. On top of that, the are often required to permit free capital flow – which is utter madness – since direct foreign investment means having to pay more interest on foreign denominated loans, bond issues etc. It all comes to a screeching halt invariably – global demand glut, local demand glut, emerging market volatility (industries that follow poverty like cheap clothing manufacture, for example picking up and leaving to greener/poorer/more-wage-depressed pastures) – as a country that has done a lot of (real) borrowing in a foreign currency finds itself unable to earn enough FX to meet debt obligations. The Vultures have their screens on refresh watching as the nation CB’s foreign reserves get drained and suddenly: BoP crisis!

        Devaluation comes as the last recourse … with a fire sales of cheap(er) national assets (sometimes) to follow.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Pegging to USD is a desperate move, since Bretton Woods collapsed and the US defaulted on gold in 1971 everyone’s supposed to float against everyone else (in other words nobody knows what anything’s worth anymore), it’s like a bunch of engineers trying to work together but without any standard measures like meters or inches or kilos. You think that Brazilian acquisition hits your investment hurdle rate? Think again, genius, one flutter of a butterfly wing and your capital disappears in a devaluation. An extreme example is Azerbaijan, economic activity is currently grinding to a halt. Why? Because they’ve had two devaluations in the last year totaling 50%, so naturally businesspeople have no idea if a deal makes any sense at all, now or later. Now multiply across the globe, and you have a good picture of our current system. The attendees at Bretton Woods only agreed to agree if the USD was firmly attached to gold. So good luck! (“I wanted 500 kilos but you only sent 300” “But hey we have a different definition of the kilo over here this week, so don’t blame us!”). Monumental uncertainty and gargantuan costs to attempt to hedge it all away, in desperation people peg and price in USD and then get completely screwed. (Asia 1998 anyone? Coming soon to an impoverished Asian nation near you, they’re loaded to the gills with dollar-denominated debt).

    2. JTMcPhee

      …waiting for Comrade Haygood to fire off a rebuttal…

      Nobody likes Wikipedia, but the entry on Brazil sure has a lot of edges and corners that echo and rhyme with all the major smash-and-grabs, “an exhausted monarchy overthrown by military coup” and coup after coupe, demolition extraction of resources, Fokk the Indigenos and Desparcidos, economic hit men having fun with their tools, on and on…

      Interesting that it appears the ‘real’ is a sovereign currency (once pegged to the dollar, the dummies) so all of this Fokking of the mopery ought to be unnecessary. If only the mopery had some power, somehow — but except in exceptional situations (quickly commandeered by more Fokkers) that does not seem to happen. And of course there are algos busily chewing over what I am writing right now… Do algos dream of hegemony cream? “BrownieMacri, , you’re doing a heck of a job.”

      Just for giggles, in case after Bernie Madoff cornering the hot chocolate trade in prison, and the comfortable next lives of the many Nazi kleptocrats who skedaddled just before the Fall of the Third Reich with gold from the teeth of millions of “lesser breeds” and art treasures and other high-value-density stolen items to sunnier tolerant corrupt climes (including Our Great Nation), I was curious where “Brownie” is at these days — seems to be happy and well…

      And in other news, Jimmy Swaggart wept…

      Look out! At your 12 o’clock high! Fokkers diving out of the sun, aiming to kill you with incendiary rounds!

  2. integer

    That is one seriously stylin’ elephant!
    He or she must be stoked on the new threads, and I’m sure the villagers’ gesture will not be forgotten.

    1. integer

      Remarkable recall power, researchers believe, is a big part of how elephants survive. Matriarch elephants, in particular, hold a store of social knowledge that their families can scarcely do without, according to research conducted on elephants at Amboseli National Park in Kenya…

      Elephants also apparently recognize and can keep track of the locations of as many as 30 companions at a time, psychologist Richard Byrne of the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland and other researchers discovered during a 2007 study at Amboseli…

      When it comes to smarts, elephants are right up there with dolphins, apes and humans, says WCS cognitive scientist Diana Reiss and colleagues at Emory University in Atlanta. They reported in 2006 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA that elephants, like the other mammals in that exclusive circle, are the only animals known to recognize their reflections in a mirror.

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    I hope there’s not a lot of violence during the inauguration parties. One guy already attempted self-immolation. Take a chill pill, people.

    1. crittermom

      “Take a chill pill, people.”
      No kiddin’.
      Was this person a Hillbot, I wonder?
      It’s sad to see how one person thinks such an act will create change. Their disapproval of the pres elect could be put to much more productive endeavors. (Uh, anything would be more productive than setting yourself on fire).

      At at time when this country needs to come together for the betterment of all, I, too hope there is no violence.

      1. broadsteve

        ‘Sad to see how one person thinks such an act will create change’
        ==========================================

        Jan Palach? I’m not recommending self-immolation but…

        “On the 20th anniversary of Palach’s death, protests ostensibly in memory of Palach (but intended as criticism of the regime) escalated into what would be called “Palach Week”. The series of anticommunist demonstrations in Prague between 15 and 21 January 1989 were suppressed by the police, who beat demonstrators and used water cannons, often catching passers-by in the fray. Palach Week is considered one of the catalyst demonstrations which preceded the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia 10 months later.” Wikipedia.

        1. Vatch

          I agree with your refusal to recommend self immolation — please don’t do it. But it can be quite effective in some circumstances. To your example of Jan Palach, we can add Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor whose self immolation sparked the Arab Spring.

          1. clinical wasteman

            Effective maybe, and both the states brought down in those examples were lamentable and unlamented. But the next 5-10 years in both regions (or 5+ and counting in the Maghreb) were not the happiest of ‘domino effects’ either.

            Is self-immolation (literal or figurative) as protest typical of situations where desire to overthrow an existing order meets dice so geopolitically loaded that nothing anyone hoped for can come of it?

            Do Color Revolutions count as social self-immolation?

            If so, I don’t think that’s what Bouazizi had in mind. Sorry can’t find references quickly, but as far as I remember, the least unreliable sources at the time said he was talking (before and after, for as long as he lived) about the sub-proletarianization — the economically impossible life — of his poor & highly educated generation/class, as enforced by selectively brutal policing of the ‘informal economy’ and post-colonial land and sea borders. I remember thinking around this time of year 6 (already!) years ago that all that spontaneous solidarity would be doomed if could be turned ‘political’ from above, so that it would be all about representation and not about material desperation. And even though Tunisia got off way more lightly than its neighbors, we know what happened next and is still happening.

            Pierre-Joseph Cambon, the class-conscious Jacobin in charge of the French Revolution’s Assignat system (wartime proto-Greenbacks backed by confiscated Church & aristocratic land) already saw how these things worked. The great Jules Michelet paraphrases him as follows: Do you want to know why I had to ruin you? I wanted social war, but you made it political!

    2. Katharine

      Self-immolation as protest entered my awareness in the early sixties when growing numbers of Buddhist monks and nuns (if that is the right term) found the actions of their South Vietnamese government intolerable. They did not extinguish themselves; the pictures were pretty grim. It made me wonder even at that age just what sort of government we were supporting, that those who surely represented tradition rather than some supposedly nefarious ideology were so opposed to it.

      Their acts were not obviously useful. In this country I doubt any group has the symbolic significance they must have had, so self-immolation is even less likely to do any good. I hope anyone feeling desperate finds some other way to change things.

      1. polecat

        But yet, today you or I would never set eyes on such reporting …… the BIG 5 would will it to never see the light of day … just like all those pink mist episodes in the middle east, for most, they don’t exist !

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Iraqi shoe thrower made it through, but that might have been the early power of blogs on display. I suspect the powers that be felt Americans would want to stomp on Iraqis all over again after the President was disrespected by an ungrateful foreigner.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Go read “Vietnam:A History.” The immolation of those monks had quite an effect (though only part of the activities and interests that led up to the coup) — Thích Trí Quang (born 1924) is a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk best known for his role in leading South Vietnam’s Buddhist population during the Buddhist crisis in 1963.

        Quang’s campaign saw widespread demonstrations against the government of President Ngô Đình Diệm, including the self-immolation of at least five Buddhist monks led to a military coup in which Diệm and Nhu were deposed on 1 November 1963 and assassinated the following day.

        And as the world is seeing and has seen in various places, Buddhists, like any other affinity group, are “only human:” If you read the article, note the little sentences about “fake news” attacks on the reputation of King Ashoka in old India…

        Then there’s this curious event: “Of NORMAN MORRISON Thirty years ago a Baltimore Quaker set himself on fire to protest the war in Vietnam. Did it make a difference?”

        1. Katharine

          I didn’t say they had no effect, but that they were not obviously useful. The overthrow and assassination were followed by another decade of deepening horror, the aftereffects of which linger fatally in the fields and more insidiously elsewhere.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does anyone know the history of self immolation as political protest?

        How far back did it go? Who was the first to do it? Was it Buddhists only in the beginning?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for that very interesting link.

            Sarira – I have heard some bronze Buddhas contain those. When you shake one (a small bronze Buddha, with the bottom sealed), you can hear something inside – either sarira, or some sutra.

      4. fosforos

        On the contrary. The Buddhist self-immolations were overwhelmingly powerful politically. They made Thich Tri Quang (the leading Buddhist spiritual leader) the foremost figure of the country and made it politically possible for Kennedy to cut off US support for Diem. The overthrow of Diem then brought Buddhist General Duong Van Minh (“Big Min”) to the presidency, opening wide the prospect of a negotiated peace, with US support, between the South Vietnamese government and the NLF. Alas, only a few days later there was a new president in Washington, and a few days after that a new military dictator in S. Vietnam. We are still living the aftermath.

    3. Larry Y

      Fighting the new struggle with the last one’s methods. It worked better during Vietnam, less so against modern Chinese Communist party and Neoliberalism.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Including the Tunisian attempt, it seems to be less about new struggles with last one’s methods, but perhaps collecting data and computing an average.

        One success in many attempts.

        Maybe the batting average is 10%?

      2. Paid Minion

        I dunno. I suspect it might work better, if you strategically located your immolation.

        If I were to do it, it would be at the fresh air intakes to the HVAC system at Goldman Sachs’s HQ.

  4. crittermom

    Much yet to read today, but I can’t help but continue to ponder the antidote du jour…
    Since when is it necessary for elephants to wear clothes in India to keep warm? Huh?

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      There is currently a cold wave in North India with the temperature having plunged to minus 12.4 degrees centigrade in Gulmarg.

    2. Katharine

      The location is Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, where, according to World Weather Online:

      Min Temperature: 9℃ / 47℉ Friday 20th January at around 5 am

      Also, the sanctuary is for rescued animals that have suffered maltreatment, many being old and most worn out, and oldsters are often more sensitive to cold.

    3. RUKidding

      Northern India includes parts of the Himalayas. It can get plenty in those areas of India. There’s at least one ski resort in Kashmir. Even in Southern India, it can get quite chilly in the mountain ranges. You’d be surprised. Another commenter has pointed out where this sanctuary is located.

  5. Christopher Fay

    Jeebus that video on the Bloomberg link, Oil, Snow and Saudi Billions: Secret Davos Gets Down to Business, is nauseas.

  6. Colonel Smithers

    The link to Corey Booker’s conscience, or lack thereof, reminded me of a joke by British comedian Rory Bremner about golfer Ian Woosnam soon after “Woosy” had played in Sun City during the apartheid era. Bremner quipped, “The only handicap is a conscience, but that won’t worry Woosy because he hasn’t got one.”

  7. russell1200

    Elephants don’t have particularly good color vision, compared to humans, but I’m sure she appreciates the kindness.

    1. Katharine

      She is reportedly one of twenty (and they hope to add another fifty in the next year), and the article (linked above) has many more pictures in which the smiles are unmistakable. Anyone who needs a little heartwarming might like to look at more pictures.

  8. tony


    It seems that the war against “fake news” is starting. This is a really strange decision and I don’t really understand what they are trying to accomplish with it.

    1. Waldenpond

      Facebook already interferes in politics and campaigns by allowing info, disallowing info, promoting info and sinking info. They have been outed for their experiments and the analysis of the point swings achievable with differing propaganda campaigns. If Zuckerberg is using his 50 state visit to run for office he’s going to have to manage that message and USians claim to get their ‘news’ from Facebook.

      Oligarchs use every tool at their disposal to promote consumerism and capitalism and kill off any discussion of socialism. Oligarchs own the media and can use their free speech in any way they want.

      Controlling the narrative.

    2. ambrit

      It is all about controlling the narrative. The people can only make decisions, as in whether to support the status quo and it’s policies, from the information they have. Control the information, and you control the decisions. Thus, if only pro status quo information gets to the public, who can blame the public for supporting the status quo elites? I suspect that the managers of Facebook are fully paid up supporters of the status quo elites.
      During the Cairo revolt, I read that the Egyptian Government tried to shut down their versions of Twitter and Facebook. Various workarounds were devised. I would not be surprised if various power centres fear that “flash mobs” could become “flash revolts.”
      The common component of this phenomenon is internet based social media and mobile communications. Control those two things and you control most “popular movements.” To harken back to yesteryear; what if the government had established control over the activities of the black churches during the Civil Rights era? As it was, it needed the actions of a semi-interventionist federal government to ensure the success of much of the movement. Imagine if the National Guard hadn’t been activated and tasked with enabling school desegregation in the South?
      So, the war against “fake news” is really the war against the anti status quo movements.
      I’m waiting for and fearing the time when the Velvet Glove comes off.

      1. Ulysses

        “I’m waiting for and fearing the time when the Velvet Glove comes off.”

        You aren’t alone, brother.

        The Iron Fist, however, is mostly wielded by relatively low-paid servants of the kleptocrats. The looters would be really foolish to rely on the long-term loyalty of cops and soldiers.

    3. curlydan

      FYI: RT’s access to posting on FB has now been restored. See link above for updates. Some of the 4M RT followers on FB raising he|| probably helped.

  9. John Parks

    “Growing Up in Rising China”
    I can certainly vouch for the entertaining and educational stories posted by the writers colony found at

    I check in there every few days hoping to find a new posting. I, for one, am looking forward to the US release of Ash’s new collection.

  10. RabidGandhi

    So does anyone know how Liam Fox’s “Trade Audits” and “informal negotiations” jive with the UK being barred from negotiating trade deals before Brexit ( citing A. 207 TFEU). If the UK is in breach, is this a declaration of war?

    1. clinical wasteman

      If so, then I and almost everyone I know will be a deserter and a saboteur. (Not strictly ‘traitors’ though if most of us are declared not-even-potential Citizens.) But definitely not auxiliaries of Brussels either.
      That old Situationist game Three-Sided Football [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25852634] is about to kick off again…

  11. Ben Gunn's Dreams of Cheese

    “Banks Face Talent Crisis”; maybe these are exactly the people who need to leave the banks; the money grabbers who are chasing a lifestyle rather than doing the not-so-glamorous job of safe, stable, fair banking. I think banking culture needs to move in that direction and say good riddance to them. But I also supported Sander and Nader, so have no understanding of the real world.

    1. John Parks

      click on the link, “long live populism” above the French Title…it shows a “back arrow”

    2. Emma

      In his quest for an improvement and possible solutions to global inequality and wealth disparity, Piketty rightly points out “It is by going back into the depths of history that we will overcome the current stumbling blocks”. That, and I think primarily, the actual willingness to consider looking at wealth and inequality differently, if we’re to increase our collective capacity to ensure everyone’s basic needs, at an absolute, absolute minimum, are met.
      Denmark has pulled this off quite well because their wealthiest have great difficulty in getting round a strictly enforced 57% income tax rate. While the US state of Utah has reduced their rate of homelessness to almost nothing, by providing free housing to the homeless. There’s been a positive ripple effect across society, the states’ economy and overall well-being of inhabitants. That might well make Utah (and the country of Denmark…) great!

      1. argonut

        Emma, Danish income taxes are high for everyone – varying according to municipality. Taking your value of 57% which would apply to ALL earnings over the equivalent of 48,300 dollars per annum; those in the bracket below but above 40,250 dollars p/a pay 41,5%, and any earnings between that and 5,900 dollars (per annum!) at 35.5%. Add to that MOMS or VAT (a universal Value Added Tax) of 25% on all consumables – not quite so great as you make out.

  12. JohnL

    Sexless in Silicon Valley: why nobody’s getting laid in America’s tech hub

    ?

    Peter Thiel said we tolerate the Bay Area because ‘people there don’t have much sex’. Has the city that hosted the summer of love entered a winter of celibacy?”

    1. cocomaan

      “In San Francisco, it’s a much more intellectual city where people are focused on their career and what they’re aspiring for,” Bradford said.

      Gross. Techies focused on careers? This sounds like a city to avoid.

        1. polecat

          Well ..it’s quite obvious …… the techies can be likened to those bulbous headed ‘too smart for their on good’ Star Trek aliens ….. and the rest of us, collectively, as Captain Pike !

      1. Synoia

        Techies have a reputation for social ineptness. Mine was cured by a long stay in various communal houses in Joberg.

        Thank you Swingles, Milnerloo, The Gasworks, Houghton and various others.

    2. Ranger Rick

      I find this one hard to believe. SF supposedly has a higher female-to-male ratio and as word has it is one of the biggest “hookup culture” hotspots out there. Tinder and Grindr did not become startups out of a vacuum.

      1. Rojo

        It’s a high male-to-female ratio. That’s what tech does.

        And as a long-time SF resident, it does strike me as a kind of sexless place. (My own lack-of-appeal not withstanding).

        I think part of the reason is that, while SF is never very cold, it’s almost always a bit chilly. Bodies are covered and nobody wants to be outside for very long.

        It’s also more transient and cosmopolitan than just about anywhere else. It’s difficult to establish non-online social networks that facilitate dating.

    3. RUKidding

      Funny. I just read an article in some magazine at the dr office. The article discussed how women in Silicon Valley were turning to Match Makers – apparently making a big come back these days (who knew?) – to assist them in locating suitable dates/partners. Apparently, a lot of women are getting sick of the Tindr/whatever hookup sites. There was one brief story about some successful, pretty woman, who got fed up after the 2d time that some guy used Tinder to hook up with her in order to pass on his resume for a job.

      I looked around for the article but couldn’t find it. However, I duly noted a huge number of links came up for match makers across the county. Is the hook up culture on the wane?

    4. Robert Hahl

      The NC of sexual news is tinynibbles.com. It recently linked to a study of hook up culture on college campuses which concluded that there is much less going on than people say. If I got this right, what has changed is that single women now don’t seem to care whether you think they are sleeping around or not, and tend to be ambiguous about the whole subject as if it didn’t matter. I’m sure the churches are working on this problem.

      (autostraddle)

    5. Waldenpond

      Six men/women crammed into one apartment trying to make as much cash as possible before it all crashes don’t have the opportunity to get to know someone over a meal, listen to music, watch a movie and will never have the opportunity for coffee and paper in the morning. Those men/women can’t find dates that want to hang out with a multitude of roommates and have to resort to hotels for private time?

  13. jgordon

    Democrats need to pay for a huge study to figure out why they failed, or rather why their marketing failed. And Third Way is going to help them with that. Well, ok.

    Honestly, aren’t most out there enjoying the Democrat implosion?

    1. Eureka Springs

      Third Way poll dancers are certainly not going to ask the correct questions, much less allow for answers they don’t want to hear.

      For some odd reason in my multi year long remove me from your email list campaign I am still on The Answer Coalitions list. They have been part of the hair on fire club since election day. No facts, no issues other than just – protest Trump on inauguration day. I have been watching just for the entertainment value. However yesterday in re their protest along the parade route:

      The ANSWER coalition has been informed by credentialed media, including a major national TV news network, that have just been told by the Secret Service that they will not be allowed access to the Navy Memorial on January 20th to cover the major protest taking place there along Trump’s Inaugural Parade Route.

      It’s difficult to believe people whose hair has been on fire for months, but if true it’s disturbing on so many levels.

      Is there a single anti-war organization which is not a part of the veal pen?

      1. andyb

        Haven’t seen an anti-war demonstration since W. Notably absent during Obama’s constant war machine. You have to wonder about the hypocrisy of the Far Left and particularly of Medea Benjamin and the Code Pink crowd. Millions dead and only crickets.

        1. MRLost

          March 21, 2015, in Lafayette Square in front of the White House. Dozens attended. I’ve been to much bigger birthday parties.

      2. Arizona Slim

        Here’s an evil thought:

        There have been reports that former President George HW Bush has been hospitalized. Again.

        This time for pneumonia complications. For someone his age, that’s an “only a matter of time” sort of diagnosis.

        If GHWB passes on to the Great (and Exclusive) WASP Country Club in the Sky on Inauguration Day, watch that upstage the events in DC. Including the protests.

        1. Parker Dooley

          I’ve been wondering lately — does anyone have a way to fly a flag at one-and-a-half mast? Kissinger must also be near the front of the line.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not sure about the name, The Answer Coalition.

        Firstly, it’s the journey part…the seeking.

        Then, once you ask or are able to formulate the probing question, the answer will present itself. Thus, the focus should be on Questioning.

        Lastly, always be wary of the messiah/savior/master/guru/babaji who has the answer for you. Not all do that, of course. And remember, you have the answer you’re seeking for within yourself.

    2. Robert Hahl

      I’m lovin it. My main hope is that progressive voters will refuse to support the Democrats until they start making themselves useful. If the Dem’s loose, and loose, and then loose some more, the old ones might be replaced by politicians who actually are who they say they are. Yes that is a long shot but it is the only thing I see which could help fix problems like medical care. In that case it is not just about profits. High drug prices are a strategic tool of U.S. foreign policy, which is why the neocons are all for them, no matter how it hurts ordinary people.

      I think the result of the last presidential election was basically random. It showed what happens when both parties nominate a candidate who can’t win. I honestly could not decide which of them was the lesser evil, so I abstained.

      Don’t blame me, I voted for Bernie (TM).

  14. Carolinian

    A very good and shrewd Archdruid in links today. While Greer’s futurism can sometimes seem a bit strained, on this issue–America as class battleground–he absolutely “gets it.”

    1. djrichard

      Yes. This is the best encapsulation I’ve seen on this thinking:

      … the American working classes are serenely uninterested in taking up the world-historical role that Marxist theory assigns to them. All they want is plenty of full time jobs at a living wage. Give them that, and revolutionary activists can bellow themselves hoarse without getting the least flicker of interest out of them.

      Every so often, the affluent classes lose track of this, and try to force the working classes to put up with extensive joblessness and low pay, so that affluent Americans can pocket the proceeds. This never ends well. After an interval, the working classes pick up whatever implement is handy—Andrew Jackson, the Grange, the Populist movement, the New Deal, Donald Trump—and beat the affluent classes about the head and shoulders with it until the latter finally get a clue.

    2. RUKidding

      I check in with the Arch Druid routinely. Some of his articles aren’t my cup of tea, but he often really hits the ball right out of the park. I’ll go check this one out. He had some good articles leading up to Trump’s election that were quite insightful.

    3. Annotherone

      Hear hear! I’ve felt a tad wary of Archdruid at times, but the linked piece today is spot-on! Good commentary there too.

      I used to believe (when back in England) that the USA didn’t suffer from the same kind of class-related disease we did there. I’ve discovered, though, that here the dis-ease has mutated so that, at times, it can be even more virulent than the original.

      1. Brad

        Found it a crude caricature of what the writer imagines to be “Marxist politics”. Never known a Marxist political organization that wasn’t concerned about the relation of immediate concerns, like jobs, with longer term goals. Clearly the writer has not had any actual practical political experience with Marxist groups.

        Worse yet, the writer doesn’t question the stereotypical category “white working class”. Pointing to non-white votes for Trump is besides that point. That’s the question the LibDems will use to keep facing ever right. Likewise with the assumption that US workers “only” care about jobs and money.

        Talk about you class bigotry: You see, these silly Marxists don’t realize that “real US workers” only care narrowly about the short term, and have no interest in the longer term or in larger issues. And that US workers are inherently more short-term pragmatists than non-US workers. Primitive stereotypical BS.

        My speculative stereotype would be that ArchDruid hails from the same middle class background as LibDem supporters. Both work from opposite ends to prop up the same lousy political system with the same stale social assumptions.

        1. Rojo

          Yeah, that’s where the article jumped the rails. Criticism of the “intellectual vanguard” approach is appropriate — and nothing new. But his “all they want” stuff reminded me of Earl Butz.

        2. Carolinian

          Yes those Marxist groups–so common nowadays so one could experience them. However Greer does live in a town full of the sort of people he’s talking about (working class people–the Marxism thing is just an aside). And he predicted many months ago that Trump would win.

          1. jrs

            I would have no problem finding a Marxist group to experience (I have at times), and I’m sure most people in an urban area could find the same (and noone is checking if you are really truly a Marxist).

    4. fresno dan

      Carolinian
      January 19, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Until last year, if you wanted to experience the class bigotry that’s so common among the affluent classes in today’s America, you pretty much had to be a member of those affluent classes, or at least good enough at passing to be present at the social events where their bigotry saw free play.
      ….
      You see, that’s a massive part of the reason a Trump presidency is so unacceptable to so many affluent Americans: his candidacy, unlike those of all his rivals, was primarily backed by “those people.”

      It’s probably necessary to clarify just who “those people” are. During the election, and even more so afterwards, the mainstream media here in the United States have seemingly been unable to utter the words “working class” without sticking the labels “white” in front and “men” behind. The resulting rhetoric seems to be claiming that the relatively small fraction of the American voting public that’s white, male, and working class somehow managed to hand the election to Donald Trump all by themselves, despite the united efforts of everyone else.

      AND

      “But what they don’t mention is that King was not just a fighter for racial justice, he also fought for economic justice and against war. And as a result, he spent the last years of his life, before being assassinated in 1968, clashing not just with reactionary Southern segregationists, but with the Democratic Party’s elite and other civil rights leaders, who viewed his turn against the Vietnam War and the American economic system as dangerous and radical.”
      ==================================================================
      One can never ever muse that the hardship of wage slaves is due to conspiracies of tech titans***
      and note that open borders so benefits those who want to crush any labor market that helps employees.
      And one can never ask how trailer dwelling Oxycontin addicted unemployed white men living in West Virginia manage to keep people in Chicago impoverished….
      One can’t even note that solving racism would not actually solve poverty.

      ***

      1. Cat's paw

        I recall back in the summer–Juneish, I’d say, about the time WaPo published Robert Kagan’s touchingly obvious propaganda piece on Trump and the arrival of fascism in America. Think about that for a moment, WaPo and Robert Kagan issuing the gravest of grave-iest warnings about fascism coming to the U.S. in the form of Trump. That goes well beyond irony and into the realm of the absurd.

        Anyway, at about that time I was arguing on an academic blog (that will remain unnamed) that there was an obvious class element to the equal parts disdain, contempt, and hysteria being thrown Trump’s way by the media et al. Yeah, Trump’s rich and powerful, but he wasn’t “their” kind of rich and powerful in the least.The class-tinged rhetorical contempt seemed obvious and was definitely obvious to all the rubes, bigots, and losers in flyover purgatory… but of course none of the “smart people” I was arguing with saw it that way and they couldn’t or wouldn’t even entertain such a notion. It was then I became fairly certain Trump would win. When you have purportedly intelligent liberal types gravely nodding along in agreement with Robert Kagan’s analysis of the Trump “phenomenon” and what it means–well, let’s just say people’s class interests were really starting show.

        1. fresno dan

          Cat’s paw
          January 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

          I agree. In my arguments about Hollywood, “liberal” is merely a brand to hide that its only, all, and always about getting all the money, and giving back as little as possible. One can never admit that reality. Kinda like BP painting itself ‘green’

        2. Robert Hahl

          But there is more to it than class interests. All the academic types i know voted for Billary partly based on her time in goverment hence greater competance to be president. It reminded me of my astonisment when Regan beat Carter (an incumbent!).

          1. hunkerdown

            Orderly procession is a professional class interest.

            And Reagan. Regan was someone else entirely.

          2. Cat's paw

            This is a much larger sociological argument, but “competence”, expertise, knowledge, and so on are very much a part of “class interests” at least where said interests are not reduced to mere economic brackets.

  15. djrichard

    It’s rare to come across an article that “breaks the code” on a topic – reveals something truly fundamental to the topic, getting to its essence. I think this article does that: Here’s the crux of it. But read the whole article; it’s not that much longer and well worth the read.

    The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

    Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is “normal” society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse, and … well, good luck out there.

    1. djrichard

      P.S. I think this puts in context why we keep seeing the powers-that-be invoke the Christian language of redemption, as in various parties being irredeemable and/or needing to redeem themselves with powers that be. Clinton did this and within the last week I’ve seen a couple of more instances of this in published news/editorial content.

      The implication is that the pathway to redemption is through them. A la the counterpunch article, “Come join us inside our maginot line … we don’t ask much, just drink our kool-aide”. And ye shall be saved.

      1. different clue

        What happens when the Maginot Liners outsource and assassinate so many millions of jobs that millions of wannabe-joiners and redemption-seekers outside the Magic Circle can’t get in because the Circle is too physically small anymore? What happens when the millions of wannabe-joiners realize the Circle has no room for them and never will? What happens when those millions realize they will never be able to climb the Teflon Walls of the Gated Circle?

        Well … Trump happens. And then what happens after that?

  16. Steve C

    Gary Younge’s intro includes the usual liberal apologies for Obama but then he moves on to particulars. Homeowners losing their homes while bankers got bonuses. 56 percent thinking the economy lost ground in the last eight years. Hillary running for Obama’s third term. Good stuff.

  17. Rodion

    Long time reader first-time commenter lol. Re: Banks face talent crisis. I can say from experience that’s unequivocally true, although there are more systemic issues at play than simply culture and compensation. We all know how post-2008 the banks have become even bigger to…erm…fail-er, but something I feel that’s often overlooked is this concept: Endemic to “too big to fail” is to complex to manage. It can take a full year to bring a new person up to speed on esoteric processes and platforms — all sitting on top of horribly a complex technology infrastructure and data model. More time is spent trying to figure out how to do your job than actually doing it. People don’t want to work in that kind of environment. Myself and a lot of people I used to work with in banking gladly took jobs in other industries with lower lifetime earnings potentials just to not be tormented day in and day out.

  18. Clive

    Re: Averting Catastrophe

    Okay, this is merely The Wisdom According to Clive, so buyer beware, your mileage may differ etc.

    Unless you are very academically gifted and have your heart unshakeably set on a career which demands it, think not once, not twice but a thousand times before gaining advanced (degree level) qualifications. And certainly be wary of chasing MAs, PhDs and the like. Do the financial calculations very carefully. Look at it like that business investment proposition – if you can, get someone financially savvy to check your workings.

    In my experience, employability comes from having real-world, practical and proven skills. And the best education is from doing. For example, if you want to learn a language, find a way of living in the country whose language you want to learn and some legal or at least semi-legal way of supporting yourself while there. You will gain more skills in the month than you will in a year of college tuition.

    Similarly, if you want career advancement do not spend time, let alone money, in “development opportunities” which hold out the promise – all too frequently dashed – of progression. If you want the job, work on convincing someone to give you the job (and the salary which goes with it) and don’t waste time working in a role which isn’t paying you at the level you are operating at. If you are told you need training, the employer should pay for it or else you are not doing the work.

    Most of the people I know who have managed to have even the vague hope of being able to get something approaching financial security have avoided falling into those traps. Conversely, everyone, without exception who is still struggling into middle age has either spent way, way too long in formal education or believed in the lies and fob offs from their employer about what they have to do to get promotions or raises.

    The worst part is, they never seem to appreciate how their strategies are fundamentally flawed and keep repeatedly following the pattern. They even instill the disastrous notions in their children.

    1. cocomaan

      I think that’s sound advice, Clive. There are many professional Masters level programs proliferating out there, specific to “disciplines” that probably won’t exist in several years.

      For instance, in a brief survey I just did, there’s Masters programs in “Organizational Leadership” or “Clinical Mental Health Counseling” or “Nursing Home Admin” or “Research Administration” or “Science of Analytics” each of which seem to promise entry into a good, upper middle class career, but are actually competing for an astonishingly small pool of positions.

      My suggested criteria for people thinking of pursuing a masters are:

      * You do it for free (through assistantships, grants, whatever)
      * You do it in a non specific area (so you are not pidgeonholed into a career that doesn’t exist)
      * You do it as quickly as possible
      * Or you do it while working at another job

    2. JEHR

      Clive, there are other reasons to want to educate yourself: to learn about the world and to enrich your world by being guided by those who have a wider experience than you do. I think the whole of life is a learning experience but it is nice to have mentors who can give some guidance especially early in one’s learning life. A person does not necessarily want to learn in order to just have or keep employment.

      1. Clive

        Yes, I do agree. Learning is a gift and one shouldn’t, I don’t think, ever stop. The problems set in when this correct and laudable notion gets applied (and I don’t blame anyone for wanting to apply it, but, in a context of avoiding disasters) by someone who fails to appreciate how for-profit education can lead you to reaching your mid-twenties — or even pushing 30 — with a fairly catastrophic personal balance sheet.

        And believe me, while some people do manage to hold onto well paid jobs once they are over 50, statistically you are over your earnings peak and less and less likely to be able to earn you way out of trouble.

        So yes, education, education and education. But please, watch those costs.

    3. oho

      sounds like Scott Adams’ suggestion of “making systems” not “goals” search “systems not goals” at blog.dilbert.com

    4. Arizona Slim

      Back in my wild and crazy youth, I had a job with a university-based academic journal. Said journal featured annotations of recently published books in academic economics and business.

      Yup. It was a real yawner of a job.

      But it was at a university that had a great benefit for lowly staffers like me: Campus classes for all of five bucks a credit.

      Since I already had an undergraduate degree in economics, I was looking at an MBA. For no other reason than to find better paying jobs than, say, that journal.

      Well, guess what. A stack of recently published MBA program books landed with a thud on my desk. Oh, no. I had to annotate those things. What a bore!

      I figured that, if books like these would be my required reading in an MBA program, I’m staying the heck away from those programs.

      And so I did. Even at five bucks a credit, that level of boredom would have driven me insane.

    5. PlutoniumKun

      I think its a case of finding a balance. My brother is in the tech industry working for a very big name company and he was recently bemoaning to me that he was not permitted to promote some individuals in his team because he was told by HR at HQ that they ‘didn’t have the right qualifications’. These are guys who’ve been working in IT for 2 or 3 decades, are enormously experienced and capable, but they started back in the days when you could talk your way into an IT job and teach yourself how to do it as you went. He was saying they were being leapfrogged careerwise by some younger guys in the team who have PhD’s but lack a feel for the systems they are working on – as a result they are pretty much useless when asked to do anything outside their narrow specialisation.

      I think its also true to say that because of the extreme competition to get in on the ground floor in many careers that you sometimes need a ridiculously good degree just to get an interview. A lot of admin jobs now require an MA or MSc, simply because there is so much competition.

      Whenever I’m asked by some teen (it rarely happens) on career advice, I usually tell them not to give any thought to a career for a few years, but if they can to get a good primary degree in something maths based, such as physics or statistics. With that basis, they can make a better judgement at age 21 or 22 whether its worth pursuing further studies. Mind you, I live in a country where getting a BA or BSc doesn’t cost much, its a whole different matter if that will land you with a 6 figure debt.

      1. Paid Minion

        As noted previously, aviation is the same way. Field/Customer Service Engineers used to be A&Ps who had been turning wrenches on airplanes for 20-25 years.

        Starting about 1997 (when multo-conglomorate bought the company), the wrench turners were forced out the door, replaced by 23 year old “Diversity Specials”, recent college grads with zero experience actually fixing airplanes.

        At which point, my job description (sans a pay raise) was expanded to “Crew Chief/Call Center Tech”, when owners/operators got tired of not getting answers from tech services anymore, and started calling their s directly on the shop floor, or constant interruptions from on-high, wanting to know how to answer customer’s questions.

        Like many industries (I suspect), good luck going to the OEM to fix your legacy product. Even if they were motivated to do so (which they are not; they would rather force you into buying a new airplane), the guys who used to know how to fix their legacy products are being forced out the door, because they cost too much. 30-40 years of experience fixing stuff is currently a liability, as the current crop of “managers” view it.

        US Big Business Plan #1………..come out with new, overpriced stuff, and force your old customers to upgrade, by lack of/cutting support for the old stuff.

        It’s not all bad. Many guys (including myself) are doing okay fixing the airplanes the OEMs can’t be bothered with. Or even better, turning into “Billing consultants” and reviewing the bloated bills from the OEMs. This will work, until all of the repair parts run out.

    6. rd

      I work in engineering. I prefer to work with people who have a Masters degree in that field because otherwise they simply don’t have the theoretical background to excel. There are 9-12 month professional Masters degrees that fill that bill – you don’t have to go through the 2-4 year thesis version.

      However, I have found that PhDs are often very disappointing. Many of them have never learned to define problems. They are good at calculating complex solutions to problems defined by someone else. The best PhDs are superb – that is probably 10% – 20% of the ones I have worked with – they would have been good with or without the PhD.

  19. David Carl Grimes

    Candidate for Guillotine Watch: A $250 million 38,000 home with 12 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms that are accessible with crocodile skin lined elevators. The spiral staircase and the outdoor theater costs $2 million each. The developer believes that there is a market for $1 billion dollar home!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Can one take that beautiful mansion with oneself to Mars?

      “Lots of empty space here for a big house like that !”

  20. Pat

    On the antidote, and just to be contrary, at least part of that jumper is not knitted. the square multicolor sections are clearly crochet. And I may have a new way to keep busy and use up my yarn stash. I love that elephants are being cared for with handcrafts.

    1. Katharine

      The article says (and pictures of women working show) that both knitting and crocheting were used.

      And I thought I’d done some big projects. Even with large needles/hooks, these garments are daunting, definitely calling for communal effort.

      1. Pat

        With the exception of the legs, most of the jumpers seem to be made up of very large blankets/afghans. Absolutely communal. One of them in the pictures seem to use a traditional granny square type pattern. I’m wondering if some version of make one or more twelve inch square granny squares or knitted squares that could be sent to them couldn’t be done in order to help them along? Obviously there would still be final assembly but there is still some of that no matter what.

        1. Katharine

          Well, there’s a link for donations, but I expect its focus is more monetary. Still, couldn’t hurt to look.

          Of course, there are projects closer to home, too, annual requests for hats and gloves. I hate working with synthetic yarn but have been trying to master felted knitting (sizing is difficult) to make woolen items less prone to shrinkage–and warmer. Not that I’m under any illusions about the value of my minor production, but if I’m going to knit anyway it would be good to do something of some utility.

          1. Pat

            I felt slippers, but have never done gloves in any form. Might try mittens. Hmmmm.

            I have a friend who knits baby sweaters. Too much for me. While I can do a basic version of most needle crafts, once you get to the intermediate level…

            And I just learned a felted hat.

            The mind boggles. Thanks.

  21. DJG

    Warmest year on record. Scientists have been working with atmospheric data for years, and it is not a surprise that these latest data show a continuing trend, a trend that almost all scientists consider dire. Anyone who thinks that scientists are playing fast and loose with data and can be exposed by someone whose last science course was in tenth grade will wander into the realm of deliberate ignorance. I am reminded of all the Shakespeare skeptics, the ones who don’t believe that Will was the boy from Stratford, who usually turn out to be “skeptical” lawyers and snobs. Dumping garbage into the atmosphere has caused damage.

    The data are there, independent of “beliefs.” Too bad that so many people in the Trump administration are clueless upper-middle-classs people (mainly white) who don’t understand that data and actions have consequences.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Given 2016 was the warmest on record, will 2017 be

      1. colder than usual
      2. a new warmest record year
      3. independent coin flip, unrelated totally to 2016
      4. darkest before dawn, or warmest before the dawn of a new ice age

      What is the prediction?

    2. gepay

      so what does GISS – NASA’s Global Institute for Space Studies have to say about Surface Absolute Temperatures?
      – Q. What exactly do we mean by SAT?
      A. I doubt that there is a general agreement how to answer this question. Even at the same location, the temperature near the ground may be very different from the temperature 5 ft above the ground and different again from 10 ft or 50 ft above the ground. Particularly in the presence of vegetation (say in a rain forest), the temperature above the vegetation may be very different from the temperature below the top of the vegetation. A reasonable suggestion might be to use the average temperature of the first 50 ft of air either above ground or above the top of the vegetation. To measure SAT we have to agree on what it is and, as far as I know, no such standard has been suggested or generally adopted. Even if the 50 ft standard were adopted, I cannot imagine that a weather station would build a 50 ft stack of thermometers to be able to find the true SAT at its location.

      Q. What do we mean by daily mean SAT?
      A. Again, there is no universally accepted correct answer. Should we note the temperature every 6 hours and report the mean, should we do it every 2 hours, hourly, have a machine record it every second, or simply take the average of the highest and lowest temperature of the day? On some days the various methods may lead to drastically different results.

      Q. What SAT do the local media report?
      A. The media report the reading of 1 particular thermometer of a nearby weather station. This temperature may be very different from the true SAT even at that location and has certainly nothing to do with the true regional SAT. To measure the true regional SAT, we would have to use many 50 ft stacks of thermometers distributed evenly over the whole region, an obvious practical impossibility.

      Q. If the reported SATs are not the true SATs, why are they still useful?
      A. The reported temperature is truly meaningful only to a person who happens to visit the weather station at the precise moment when the reported temperature is measured, in other words, to nobody.

      So another scientist says, Dr Vincent Gray says: ‘There are theoretical reasons why the average temperature of the earth’s surface cannot be measured. Because of the fact that the sun does not shine for half the time, its variability is non linear. It is impossible to simulate it with any of the mathematical functions used by statisticians and even if this were possible there is a variety of possible averages, such as the arithmetic mean, geometric mean, or the harmonic mean.’
      There are real problems with whatever method is used to measure global temperature.

      So please explain to me what value the statement – “Warmest year on record” has – I have at least a 10th grade scientific education. I’m sure it means a lot to people like you that have beliefs but no depth of actual knowledge of the science that alleges that Man made CO2 is a pollutant.

      1. Aumua

        Right, which is why temperature anomalies, not absolute temperatures (individual temperature readings at specific locations) are what is used for the analysis. From the very same page you quoted (but creatively edited):

        The GISTEMP analysis concerns only temperature anomalies, not absolute temperature. Temperature anomalies are computed relative to the base period 1951-1980. The reason to work with anomalies, rather than absolute temperature is that absolute temperature varies markedly in short distances, while monthly or annual temperature anomalies are representative of a much larger region. Indeed, we have shown (Hansen and Lebedeff, 1987) that temperature anomalies are strongly correlated out to distances of the order of 1000 km.

        In addition, you should know that uncertainty in a data set is no reason to throw out that data. Accounting for uncertainty is a cornerstone of science. Every measurement made has some factor of uncertainty associated with it, which is then carried through the analysis using error propagation, and then is reported along with the results.

        In this particular case (the NASA/GISS analysis), the reported error is ±0.05°C for a 1.6°C anomaly for 2016. You should also be aware that the NASA study is one of 3 independent major studies showing the same trends. More information for you at .

        1. gepay

          I knew that but a person with a 10 grade science education probably doesn’t. Anomalies are used to see the trend – but they do use the unreliable absolute temperatures measurements as a basis to set the trend line. I do not argue whether it has been warming since the 80s. It is not surprising that an El Nino year would be warm. It will take several years more to see the trend. It has been warming since the Little Ice Age for which there is no consensus opinion on its cause -but certainly not man made CO2. The Holocene is magnitudes warmer then the previous glacial period. There is no consensus on what causes those drastic changes from glacial to inter glacial. In the article it says, ” “Temperatures in the Arctic are continuing to warm at roughly twice the pace of the global average, which is an expected outcome of climate change caused by human-produced greenhouse gases.” However IN ‘Assessing atmospheric temperature data sets for climate studies’ Magnus Cederlof, Lennart Bengtsson, Kevin Hodges say “The Arctic warming trend is most pronounced in ERAI with the largest values in the Russian sector. Such values are consequently not a direct effect of increasing greenhouse gases.” ERAI = ECMWF Interim Reanalysis (ERAI) data set. So it depends on what you want to believe – which data set analysis conforms to your bias. I certainly have mine- I don’t think there is any scientific evidence that anyone knows what the climate sensitivity to CO2 is. It is a fact that plants would prefer more CO2 in the atmosphere. I don’t think anybody knows what would be the optimum temperature of the Earth for everybody. People who believe CO2 is a pollutant need the outcomes of inadequate computer models of the climate -not empirical observations – to predict catastrophe because of man made CO2. I believe the US national security-military-industrial complex is the greatest real threat to people on our planet, not man made CO2.

          1. Aumua

            Let’s see if I understand your points:

            1) Individual temperature readings are unreliable, so therefore regional/global trends/averages based on those readings are unreliable (I leave it to the reader to find the gaping hole in that logic).

            2) El Nino accounts for 2016’s record warmth.

            3) We won’t know what the real trend is for several more years.

            4) The Earth has been warming since the little ice age.

            5) Certain previous epochs of Earth’s history were much warmer.

            6) No one really knows what caused previous glacial and inter-glacial periods.

            7) The arctic warming currently seen is not a direct effect of greenhouse gasses.

            8) Climate scientist are seeing what they want to see in the data.

            9) No one knows what the climate sensitivity to CO2 is.

            10) Plants prefer more CO2.

            11) No one knows what the optimum temperature on Earth for everybody is.

            12) CO2 is not a pollutant.

            13) Computer models are inadequate to describe the future state of our climate system.

            14) The US MIC is a greater threat to humanity than climate change.

            Just want to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

            1. gepay

              yes that summarizes my opinions in my reply (my opinion and a dollar doesn’t get me a good cup of coffee unless I make it myself)
              1. the temperature records before 1950 are very unreliable – picking the trendline as the basis for anomalies is very susceptible to getting the answer you want – any record approaching accuracy would start with satellite the record in 1979 – 150 years is not a long time when talking about climate – if one includes the proxy temperature record (unless you’re Michael Mann), many years were warmer than 2016 and the warming isn’t unprecedented.
              2. yes If there hadn’t been an El Nino I doubt it the temperature anomaly would have been a record – much more research needs to be done on El Ninos and the many other decadal to millennial oscillations in the ocean before one can make substantial claims about the role of natural variation and its causes.
              3 yes -decades
              4 do you dispute that?
              5 do you dispute that?
              6 do you dispute that ?
              7. was the conclusion of the mentioned scientific study, not mine but one that supports my bias
              8 I said people with a bias if you include climate scientists…
              9 do you dispute that?
              10 do you dispute that/
              11do you dispute that?
              12. that is what I believe
              13 Here is what Scientific American says Freeman Dyson (whose opinion would carry much more weight) says about climate computer models “Too much of the science of climate change relies on computer models, he argued, and those models are crude mathematical approximations of the real world. After all, a simple cloud—small in scale, big in climate effects, the product of evaporation and condensation, all of which it is difficult to create equations for—eludes the most sophisticated climate models.So climate modelers turn to what they call parameters or, as Dyson likes to call them: “fudge factors.” These are approximations, such as the average cloudiness of a particular spot at a particular time, that are then applied globally. With the help of about 100 of these parameters, models can now closely match the world’s present day climate, Dyson says. These models then, like the one developed at Princeton University where Dyson is a professor emeritus, are “useful for understanding climate but not for predicting climate.”
              14.Just one of the real problems nothing much is being done about rather than all the blather about the catastrophes awaiting us if we don’t let the Powers That Be have control of our carbon footprint.
              Thank you for giving more attention to my opinions.

  22. sleepy

    Glenn Greenwald’s scathing takedown of news commentator/retired General Scales’ position on Chelsea Manning as a traitor. It’s as good if not better than Sanders’ slamming of Tom Price yesterday. On Msnbc:

  23. oho

    ‘How Barack Obama paved the way for Donald Trump Gary Younge, Guardian’

    I’m loathe to click on the link as Younge is one of the countless lame columnists/bloggers who perpetuated the conditions that allowed Obama to pave the way for Trump

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      No need to click. Younge has, predictably, jumped on the bandwagon, reciting all the things Trump voters could have told him months ago, and did tell him and the rest of his ilk on election day.

      1. Katharine

        That doesn’t seem altogether fair. He is one of the few who actually did go out and talk with people before the election, and report realistically on what they had to tell him.

  24. Dave

    “Student Loan Collector Cheated Millions, Lawsuits Say”

    Millions served to them on a silver platter by Joseph Biden, the Senator from corporate bank headquarters.

    He was the author of “bankruptcy reform” that made student loans eternal, no matter what your financial circumstances. Now we see the distinctive rodent toothmarks of memory gnawing away at his 2020 run for president.

    Election Day procedure in 2020; Write check to student loan servicer. Decide what food to skip at the store as too expensive for your budget. Fill out mail in ballot. Vote for whomever is running against Biden.

    1. cocomaan

      Worth mentioning that WSJ is reporting that student loan defaults are much higher than previously reported:

      Those SLABS are about to get really hot! Hold onto your butts.

      1. oho

        cripes. Another Friday afternoon bad news dump, and during the last full week of the term.

        1000?!! schools where ‘at least half of students defaulted or failed to pay down debt within 7 years’

        1. cocomaan

          EXCEPT IT’S THURSDAY! Joke’s on you!

          That last figure is a laugh, right? Not once red cent paid. That’s catastrophic.

    2. Brian Lindholm

      In addition to Joe Biden’s sin, don’t forget that the US Department of Education is the organization that made most of these loans (over 90%), and that they’re also the organization that hired Navient to administer those loans.

      The NY Times article points fingers at Navient, but omits the chief villain in this whole scenario: The US federal government. The feds are the party that did the following things:

      [1] Unjustly exempted student loans from the bankruptcy laws that protect people from excess debt.
      [2] Issued excess debt by blindly approving essentially 100% of student loan applications without doing any analysis whatsoever of the borrower’s ability to repay.
      [3] Handed off loan administration to unscrupulous outside contractors instead of doing it properly themselves.

      Between Biden’s harmful changes to bankruptcy law and Obama’s pathologically altruistic decision to have the Department of Education take over student loans (where they ALWAYS say “yes”), they’ve done more harm to an entire generation of college students than any Republican before them ever has.

      1. Louis

        While rising tuition, and the subsequent borrowing have been influenced by other factors, a lot of it is due to state reductions in higher education spending.

        When voters decide, as they have over the last 30 years, that tax cuts are more important than keeping higher-education affordable, we shouldn’t be surprised at the mess it’s become.

        1. KurtisMayfield

          When I tell people how much my state university BS (Yes I like calling it that all the time) cost I feel like I might have to treat them for shock. I could works all summer and pay my tuition, and then work during the semester to pay for my meals. This is the standard that state legislatures should use

          IF 1 year tuition > 12*40*minimum wage THEN decrease tuition OR increase minimum wage

          It’s not hard to figure out. And tuition includes fees, the state systems really have been awfully quick to tack them on.

          1. Dave

            Does your state grant illegal aliens the privilege of paying in state tuition at public colleges and universities?

            They do in California and someone has to subsidize that.

    3. Paid Minion

      And as usual, most of the “Comments” come from the “Blame the Poor” first crowd, lambasting the deadbeats.

      No mention at all of the Private Equity snakes that pushed big student loans, for overpriced education/training, while knowing that many of the students couldn’t pass the courses (due to crappy public education, and no pre-screening), or not being able to obtain certification (due to drug convictions). Much like the Wall Street banksters during the “Fog a Mirror” mortgage era, they didn’t give a crap about defaults, because they offloaded the risk to Uncle Sam, while getting cash “up front”

      Mortgages, Student Loans and Auto finance. Since financial scams seem to be the only “growth” industry in the USA, one wonders where the next one is going to be created. “Honest Work” is for suckers.

  25. integer

    Someone cited VICE as a source in yesterday’s links, and having been skeptical of VICE for a while now (there is a free-to-air VICE channel in Australia now), I decided to do a bit of digging. is what I found:

    As a brand, VICE is built around an anti-establishment vibe that’s always feeling the pulse of the fringe. So how did VICE go from producing a niche magazine in Canada focused on street style and sex, to being a bona fide multimedia empire that includes a popular website, growing digital footprint, and partnerships with major corporations?

    The shift happened gradually. There was $200 million from Disney and another $70 million from 21st Century Fox that made Rupert Murdoch a major owner. One talk show sponsored by Bank of America, and another hosted by career Islamophobe Bill Maher. World-famous puppet master George Soros, who funds coups in favor of NATO, got his own segment. Throughout all of this, VICE Media expanded by quietly embracing the very corporate and government entities that hold the least credibility with its own, young audience.

    While positioning itself as a ballsy, no-holds-barred alternative to the mainstream media, it’s actually become the mainstream media. VICE Media hasn’t just sold itself out to the neocon agenda, it’s also normalized that agenda among its audience through its growing digital platform.

    So… VICE is just another media outlet spouting the neocon agenda, albeit in packaging designed to attract younger audiences. Can’t say I’m surprised, but thought it was worth sharing.

    1. windsock

      I disagree. Yes VICE is clickbait central but it does present alternative viewpoints to those in the mainstream and is quite critical of received wisdom. Like ALL media, it pays to keep one’s critical faculties active when reading but I even do that at NC, much as I love it. (Sorry!)

    2. pictboy3

      It was me that cited Vice. Vice right now sucks. But a few years ago, they were basically allowing reporters to run pieces with very little oversight and produced some of the best journalism I’ve seen in a long time. They changed their website and got rid of all the great dispatches, but they might still be out there on youtube. The best ones were Simon Ostrovsky’s Ukraine dispatches (although most everything he has done for them has been excellent), as well as Henry Langston’s dispatches from the same, and a great series on the Ebola outbreak when it was raging. There were a few duds, but also a lot of other great pieces from various parts of the world. Don’t take my word for it, check out some of the old stuff, it really is good, on the ground journalism.

      1. integer

        More from the linked article:

        But on matters of foreign policy, VICE’s tone tends to align with Washington’s maneuverings, including the re-emergence of Cold War narratives pushing “Russia-phobia” and justifying NATO’s aggressive posturing toward Russia in Ukraine and Syria.

        And, as Robbie Martin notes in Part III of his documentary series “A Very Heavy Agenda,” “VICE achieved what Fox News’ terrorism fear-mongering could never achieve: fear of Islamic terrorism among young American liberals” to justify more so-called “humanitarian” bombs.

        As a news outlet, VICE has become a tool of soft propaganda. Its reporters frequently cite outlets like Voice of America and Voice of Asia, broadcasters which fall under the umbrella of the U.S. state-sponsored Broadcasting Board of Governors that pushes U.S. interests abroad.

        VICE, it turns out, is an ideal vehicle for delivering Cold War, interventionist messages to a generation that knows better than to trust the mainstream media or the government. The problem is, that generation doesn’t seem to realize that VICE is the mainstream media and it’s pushing government narratives.

        1. integer

          Adding: To be fair I should point out that I haven’t seen any of the reporting on Ukraine from either of the reporters you mention. That said, I expect they didn’t interview any people living in Eastern Ukraine, and speculating further, I imagine they refrained from featuring any interviews with the neo-Nazi cohort at Maidan, preferring to highlight the more presentable and well-mannered protesters.

  26. Ignacio

    The major risk found in the World Economic Forum has been “the election of populist leaders, a loss of faith in institutions and increased strain on international cooperation“.

    And they conclude that “There is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive and interconnected set of options that adapt social protection to new-style employment patterns, reskill workers, and respond to the opportunities and threats posed by increasing longevity.

    because, “A failure to take action risks both the deterioration of government finances and the exacerbation of social unrest, especially at this time of slow economic growth and widening inequality. The transition from current to new models will be fragmented and slow, given political and financial challenges, and will require collaboration across all sectors of society – public, private and civil society. That makes it is all the more imperative to begin now.”

    Then the analysis concludes that “Above all, we must redouble our efforts to protect and strengthen our systems of global collaboration. Nowhere is this more urgent than in relation to the environment, where important strides have been made in the past year but where much more remains to be done. This is a febrile time for the world. We face important risks, but also opportunities to take stock and to work together to find new solutions to our shared problems. More than ever, this is a time for all stakeholders to recognize the role they can play by exercising responsible and responsive leadership on global risks.

    More Paris, less TTIP, TISA and so forth.

      1. grizziz

        From the Davos piece: what can be done to stop mere citizens from sending the enlightened world on a path straight to hell?
        One observation might be that the ‘enlightened’ bureaucrats operating institutions got that way by stuffing their pockets with cash by looting the institutions which were ostensibly created to protect the public from predation – the Clinton Foundation not withstanding.
        Somewhere in the literature, which by now may have been debunked thanks to the crises in the misuse of statistics in psychology, it was shown that people will suffer economic hardship themselves in order to stop a free rider. I would posit as a partial explanation of the failure of institutions is that they appear to the public to only serve to support the people within the institutions, i.e., Lambert’s self-licking ice cream cone.

  27. Pat

    This is a rather blunt assessment of the current state of the Democratic Party. And yes, I know who owns the “paper”, doesn’t stop me from saying they should perhaps listen.

    1. oho

      Cripes, I didn’t realize that the DNC was THAT incompetently run.

      ‘Thanks to the debt of Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaigns—and the poor leadership of former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz—the Democratic National Committee spent the duration of Obama’s presidency bankrupt. ‘

      1. Ivy

        The DNC seems to be channeling their inner Margaret Thatcher, updated for Goldman Sachs, keeping on until they run out of other muppet’s money.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Hahaha…it was the “all Debbie’s fault” excuse is coming back. That should be Obama 2012 campaign debt, not 2008.

        Democrats should be irritated Obama directed Democratic donors to help that loser Hillary retire her campaign debt in 2008 after paying Mark Penn $5 million.

  28. Dave

    “Postal Workers Union Scored One of its Biggest Wins Ever…”
    The enemy is still lurking.

    Great article in Truthout about this. Wanted to post it here. Surprise, it was written by Yves Smith. She sure gets around.

    “the Postal Service is being plundered through the device of a completely fabricated financial crisis. The mail provider has been widely declared to be broke, but that’s utter hogwash. Congress has created the appearance of financial ill health via a 2006 measure which astonishingly makes it prepay retiree benefits 75 years in advance.
    Yes, you read that right. It has to fund benefits now for workers who haven’t even been hired. The Postal Service is the only agency subject to this absurd requirement. If that were eliminated, and the Post Office charged stopped pricing business mail (meaning all that junk you get) at a loss, the Postal Service would be profitable. The Save the Post Office site sets forth the forces behind the campaign to turn the Post Office into a looting opportunity public-private partnership, including Pitney Bowes, DHL, Federal Express, UPS, and USPS supplier Ursa Major.

    EastBayExpress, via publishing a section from a new e-book by Peter Byrne called Going Postal (sadly the same as used by Mark Ames for his important book on workplace shootings), tells us how the husband of powerful Sen. Diane Feinstein, Richard Blum, is ing at the Postal Service privatization trough.
    Blum is the chairman of C.B. Richard Ellis (CBRE) which has the exclusive contract to handle sales for the Post Office’s $85 billion of property. Bryne summarizes the finding of his investigation:

    • CBRE appears to have repeatedly violated its contractual duty to sell postal properties at or above fair market values.

    • CBRE has sold valuable postal properties to developers at prices that appear to have been steeply discounted from fair market values, resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in public revenue.

    • In a series of apparently non-arm’s-length transactions, CBRE negotiated the sale of postal properties all around the country to its own clients and business partners, including to one of its corporate owners, Goldman Sachs Group.

    • CBRE has been paid commissions as high as 6 percent by the Postal Service for representing both the seller and the buyer in many of the negotiations, thereby raising serious questions as to whether CBRE was doing its best to obtain the highest price possible for the Postal Service.

    • Sen. Feinstein has lobbied the Postmaster General on behalf of a redevelopment project in which her husband’s company was involved.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Her husband was doing business in China way before many people. That was in the early 80’s, maybe even earlier than that.

      Surely, it is easier to make money over there for them, even that historical connection, and China’s new leadership in globalization.

    2. Ivy

      Feinstein and Blum, two ways that the Golden State keeps tarnishing itself. As a resident, and anti-Feinstein voter, I just that she’d wish go away and take him with her.

      1. jo6pac

        It looks like she here to stay so hubby can continues stealing from the govt. He also use the state UC system like his own bank.

  29. fresno dan

    Russell Brand: Reality under Barack Obama and Donald Trump will not be too different Irish Times (DJRichard).

    “If you are not in arse-breaking poverty, you just want nice stuff to be said. And Barack Obama is a president that says nice stuff,” Brand said.

    “At least we get to see a nice guy saying nice stuff, while those children are being bombed in other countries.

    “If that’s what our democracy is reduced to – the stuff we listen to while the same thing happens – then that’s not a very good system is it?”
    =====================================================
    As has been noted here to infinity, one would be hard pressed to note a significant difference between Bush and Obama….as night follows day.
    In many respects, Obama’s simulacrum of a liberal will be a great antecedent for Trump. Much ado about nothing….

  30. RabidGandhi

    [The rapper’s tweets] a discourse of hate, legitimate terrorism as a way for solving social conflicts, and what is most important, they force upon victims the lacerating memory of threats against, kidnapping or the murder of their immediate relatives.

    Thus as it overturned a 2016 appellate court judgment that had ruled against the conviction of Spanish rapper César Montaña Lehmann (aka César Strawberry) on a charge of “glorifying terrorism” based on his tweets mocking the ruling Popular Party by allegedly making light of ETA terrorism. The High Court sentenced Strawberry to a year in prison for his tweets. FOR HIS TWEETS.

    To its shame, in Spain Brandenburg v. Ohio does not apply.

  31. alex morfesis

    John Lewis changed his mind while he high fives trump as they nod & wink…he is going to the inauguration…

    JL: man that was great…have not had that many interviews in the last 8 years…

    DT: piece of cake…stick with me and we are all gonna make out…

    JL: I’m not like that…I only kiss natural born females…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As DT hums Bing Crosby’s “Going My Way:”

      this road leads to rainbowville
      going my way
      up ahead is blue bird hill
      going my way

      just pack a basket full of wishes
      and off you start
      with sunday morning in your heart

      round the bend you’ll see a sign
      “dreamers highway”
      happiness is down the line
      going my way

      the smiles you’ll gather
      will look well on you
      oh, i hope you’re going my way too

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      He should go. After all, the fallout from their little battle sold lots and lots of Lewis’s books; I heard Amazon was sold out in mere hours.

      I couldn’t help noticing the same thing happened with other Trump “attacks.” He snarled at the NYTimes…and their subscriptions skyrocketed. He went after Vanity Fair…and ditto. Am I being naive to consider he is too savvy not to have known in advance what effect those outrage-generating tweets would have?

      1. hunkerdown

        No evidence that those will actually be read. High-margin goods are useful objects to hide elite transactions.

    3. alex morfesis

      Oh wow…I got punked…cnn new day confused elijah cummings and john lewis…still think john lewis is probably high fiving trump…track down andrew young comments on mlk day after talking to trump in the tennessian…

  32. Arizona Slim

    Greetings from gray and gloomy Tucson. (We’re about to get more of the rain that’s been soaking the Left Coast.)

    Here’s a bit of cheer for the NC commentariat:

    1. fresno dan

      Arizona Slim
      January 19, 2017 at 11:47 am

      when I click I get the dreaded, “this site can’t be reached”

    1. hunkerdown

      They’re going to stop calling them “reality shows”? Figures they would want Trump and the people to stop saying “reality”.

  33. Louis

    The Vanity Fair article about Davos read like something out of the Onion–I had to re-read it to make sure the “refugee simulations” wasn’t satire but was in fact reality.

  34. Matt

    The World Economic Forum and the Bilderberg groups dreams of world government, multinational trade deals that are controlled by the wealthiest corporations in the world is coming to an end. The implementation of regulations that limit the abilities of smaller businesses to grow and compete with the large corporations is coming to an end. The world is waking up.

    Joe Biden calls it a “Liberal World Order,” George Bush called it the “New World Order.” Your dreams of turning us all into unemployed renters who live of a universal basic income and are slaves of your controlled media and electronics are coming to an end.

    The world wants prosperity, liberty, private property, and sovereignty. Let the renaissance begin. Buh Bye New World Order.

    1. alex morfesis

      But who will drive the bus in the morning & who will deliver the milk for the children ?? If it was so simple to be done with the post-westphalia brigade it would have been done by now…

      One must be ready with a somewhat functional alternative…

      Prayer to replace preying is not a workable option…

  35. Katharine

    Oh, golly! Dialogue like this belongs in a farce:

    “I have a ton of other questions on policy but first and foremost is truth and veracity, what Americans need in their Treasury secretary” said Menedez. “In essence isn’t it true that what you did here is take these companies, put them offshore so you could help your clients, who you were making money from, to avoid US taxation.”

    Mnuchin said that was “not true at all”.

    “I assure you that these forms were very complicated,” he said. “When I certified those forms I thought it was correct.” Mnuchin said he may have erred in giving the forms in early and should have waited and that his lawyer had assured him he had filled the forms in correctly.

    “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand ‘list all entities,’” said Menendez.

    If the forms were that hard for him, perhaps he isn’t quite up to the job.

    1. Portia

      he said when he certified them he thought they were correct. he never said he read them. then blamed his lawyer (he has “people” to do this stuff, right? does he have to do everything himself?). he can play golf and knows the right people–I am sure that’s what makes him up to the job, right?

      this is what we have to contend with now–people in high level govt jobs who delegate everything and have no idea what it’s really about, or have an agenda that has little to do with the actual service of the position

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would no surprise if his lawyer goes with the Clintonian Gambit (a shame if it is not taught in all law schools): It depends on what you mean by ‘entity.’

    2. Waldenpond

      Please, please, please tell me Menendez gets Soros money too? I get an evil smile when someone like Warren complains about Mnuchin and that particular bank when that particular bank owner funds Warren.

    3. rd

      That defense worked for Tim Geithner who said he couldn’t navigate TurboTax but was qualified to run Treasury and the IRS nonetheless.

      Competence and attention to rules and detail is not a requirement for a post-modern Cabinet position.

  36. Lord Koos

    Regarding the Prop Or Not list, it has begun to circulate on as an antidote to “fake news”. Cfdtrade is on that list still, and I often link NC articles on myself. If as rumored, FB develops some kind of AI program that attempts to censor so-called “fake news”, we have really reached the end of free speech.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Last time I checked, NC had been removed from the list there (almost immediately after the legal threat, which is consistent with how they’ve reacted when confronted by other sites). It’s also dropped out of Google’s index, and the top hits are now largely critical opinion pieces about WaPo’s choice to quote them.

      1. 3.14e-9

        ChrisPac, are you referring to the PropOrNot list? If so, NC is still on it. I refuse to provide the link, but I just checked (will wipe down keyboard with antiseptic as soon as I post this comment).

        There has been no update to The List since Nov. 30, when they removed CounterPunch and added a few others. The site doesn’t appear to have any new posts at all since that date.

    2. Aumua

      If as rumored, FB develops some kind of AI program that attempts to censor so-called “fake news”, we have really reached the end of free speech.*

      * on Facebook, which was never at all free (as in beer, or as in speech) to begin with.

    3. Oregoncharles

      A lot of political organizing has become deeply dependent on FB and Twitter (yes, including the Green Party’s.) This makes me extremely uneasy. It means we’re at the mercy of huge corporations that are certainly not friendly, and of their owners (eg, Zuckerberg; who owns Twitter?)

      On top of that, last I heard Twitter still wasn’t making any money and was very shaky. Not a dependable platform. FB seems unkillable, for now.

      We need to always maintain alternatives to those platforms; we may lose them very suddenly. It’s a bigger problem than just potential censorship of dissident websites.

  37. olga

    Xi Jinping’s appearance at Davos (with 80 staff) was truly momentous. Here is another account (for those of us who so subs. to WSJ):

  38. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Democrats need to stop throwing everything they can at Trump – The Hill

    It seems there is nothing left to throw, after the dossier last week.

    I had been expecting a more dramatic week, leading up to the inauguration.

  39. Oregoncharles

    On Brexit: ; “Brexit: The mind games”

    BBC is not a disinterested source, but this supports my thought that what we’re seeing now is posturing – on both sides – intended to set up negotiating positions. The informal negotiations have already started. It also mentions the potential importance of Trump’s intervention.

    I would add, as a caveat, that the US is unlikely to be able to substitute for continental trading partners, though a fallen pound would help. US political pressure is more likely to be important.

    And I have a technical question that I haven’t seen addressed: there’ve been multiple reports (mostly here on NC) that a lot of bond transactions are mediated by the City precisely to put them under British law. Apparently they’re a sizeable portion of Europe’s excessive debt. What happens when Britain suddenly isn’t in the EU? And doesn’t this make London a linch pin in the EU’s economy?

  40. Oregoncharles

    “No 10 defends Boris Johnson over ‘Brexit punishment beatings’ quip”

    Not diplomatic, but really hilarious. Probably an example of things already getting nasty.

    1. Anonymous2

      British ministers keep referring to WW2. Given virtually no one involved in the negotiations was alive then, they are not going to be impressed. It is done IMO to tap into the fact the English go on and on about their ‘finest hour’. Playing on people’s emotional triggers to avoid hard-headed analysis, I reckon.

      Much of the rest is bluster and will be treated as such.

  41. barrisj

    Re: the McClatchy story about “covert Kremlin aid to Trump”…tracing back several of the links to the main article one finds “sources” for “intelligence” that include “head of an “Eastern European intelligence service”, or -perhaps the same “source” – “Baltic ally”, all of which unnamed, of course. And yet again, the notorious “Steele dossier” also gets prominent mention, without any effort in authenticating its claims. And whenever one sees in the same sentence,”CIA…secret tape(s)…” passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States…”, one is drawn back more recently to “Curveball”, “yellowcake”, “Atta – Prague meeting”, all of the manufactured and stovepiped rubbish that so discredited the US IC in the Cheney/Bush years. McClatchy DC, and its predecessor, Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau, had done so much creditable and credible work during that dreadful era, in exposing the machinations and propagandising of the Govt. in pushing the Iraq invasion; however, to now invest time and prestige in propagating the “Trump a tool and pawn of Putin” line serves the McClatchy news service very poorly indeed. Sorry to see it fall in with the rest of the MSM in getting played by the IC..

  42. Waldenpond

    Archdruid… couldn’t finish. I can read his fiction despite the fact that his biases come through and enjoy the storytelling and the writing. But his political analysis is lacking. (Looky at the new left bashing jargon we’ve seen today…. we’ve had the neo-left today and the The New Left.)

    Summary: caterwauling sore loser; extraordinary strident venom; bigotry; disgust with Ds; erasure; erasure; feminism; offense to feminists; Trump’s victory; women don’t agree with feminists; poc don’t agree with social-justice activists; Clinton wearing a ballcap is absurd; “racist” “misogynistic” are class-based insults; affluent unable to denounce Trump as the candidate of the filthy rabble; left groups cash out and stop talking about class issues; the working class will reject the (bellowing themselves hoarse) Marxist radicalized intelligentsia; Trump will beat the affluent classes about the head until they get a clue (about joblessness and low pay); NewLeft/Marxism absurdity is identity politics; color,gender, etc divisions of the left; left dominates political discourse; don’t misunderstand his statements of “some basis in biology”; AD means this type of writing:

    [a woman of color who makes a quarter million dollars a year benefits as a New York stockbroker can claim to be oppressed by a white guy in Indiana who’s working three part time jobs at minimum wage with no benefits in a desperate effort to keep his kids fed, when the political candidates that she supports and the economic policies from which she profits are largely responsible for his plight]
    Alt-right is the reaction to the identity politics of the left; the alt-right plays the left’s game with verve; liberal class privilege buttered popcorn hissy fit; respond to the criticism of Trump’s enacted agenda point out the hypocricy by rolling your eyes and walking away;

    To get to the point, summary of summary: criticizing Trump in a way that ultra-religious, libertarian, alt-right appreciating JMG, (who supported and is proud to have contributed to the election of Trump?) ……. ….. IS CLASS BIGOTRY (the hate that dare not speak its name).

    Some parts were painful contortions like the attempt to equalize class bigotry (the poor do it too!). There were two horrible choices for president. A large number of people don’t vote at all, some will have voted against Clinton… this does not equal a resounding vote for Trump. AD does not like identity politics but his mixing of left/Marxist/liberal is a significant failure. His attempts to use the arguments by the left against the left were another failure. For someone so contemptuous of identarian language, he used quite a bit of it. It was just a sore winnerdom piece.

    1. jrs

      “a woman of color who makes a quarter million dollars a year benefits as a New York stockbroker”

      I wonder how common this is? I’m going with not very … isn’t it something even white women tend to flee from as they want work-life balance? And that’s without racial hiring bias … education bias, etc. etc.

      1. jrs

        It really seems to me about as mythical as cadillac welfare queens, maybe there were a few and maybe “a woman of color who makes a quarter million dollars a year benefits as a New York stockbroker” exists, but it’s so rare as to be almost mythical I think.

    2. hunkerdown

      Waldenpond, just as it is futile to explain or predict self-defined jihadis in terms of liberal norms, it doesn’t work well to explain in terms of facts and actual interests, or to predict, the dynamics of groups formed on a counterfactual self-identification, that is, faith-based groups and other aspirationalists. It also makes no sense to tell the faithful to get real or to tell them to get in the boxes you’d rather have them in.

      The simple reason is that members of such a group are not governed by others’ preconceptions, and are going to think and organize along their own sense of identity and orientation in the world, thanks. Praxis outweighs scientific management. Tradition replaces expertise. It is not of great concern to them that their perceived interests may not coincide well with the ostensibly objective but usually self-interests perceptions sold by outsiders. Local sufficiency and adequacy are more interesting to them than market or oxygen access for people they’ve never met, i.e. in whom they have no direct social investment and no need to convert, and from whose presence in the market those others benefit and they lose.

      As a software developer, I am practiced in entertaining the reality of others’ nonsensical object models for the sake of understanding and intellectual production, without accepting them (apologies to Aristotle). If you can get past Greer’s concession to their self-description, which does have some power in predicting what and how they think and interact in the relevant contexts, and understand just which movements he’s modeling, it makes quite a bit of sense.

      Personally, I think there’s a delicious irony in encouraging the right to use liberal constructs against liberals, to the side benefit of the left.

  43. dcrane

    In case this hasn’t been noted (Le Pen gaining in France):

    The populist leader of the National Front had between 25 percent and 26 percent support compared with 23 percent to 25 percent for Republican candidate Francois Fillon, according to an Ipsos Sopra Steria poll for Cevipof and Le Monde. In mid December, Fillon led with about 28 percent and Le Pen around 25 percent.

    Since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president on Nov. 8, the French race has been closely-watched as another crucial battle between populist and establishment forces. Under the French electoral system, the two leading candidates face each other in a run-off vote on May 7, presenting a significant hurdle to Le Pen. The poll didn’t include data for the second-round vote.

    I don’t know much about their system (especially how voters will recombine after nobody gets a majority in the first round), but this bit from a second article makes things sound something like the Trump example.

    Le Pen talks of putting France right in five years. Yet, while she and her team indignantly resist stubborn accusations of racism and even the term “far-right”, there is a paradox: not all those supporting her are so squeamish, some freely stating that they are so fed up with two-party dominance that they will “give the extrême droite a chance”.

    Some writers emphasize her extremely high “unpopularity” polling of 71%, but Donald was also historically unpopular. Is turnout a big player in French elections like in the US?

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