23 January 2017

Linkage


Old School Heavy Metal:

22 January 2017

Stating the Obvious on Populist Rejection of Expert Opinions

Whether it's the Brexit, or Donald Trump, it is clear that disdain for experts figures prominently in populist politics, particularly on the right.

Dean Baker makes a point that needs to be made, that the experts have proven themselves to be unable to find their ass with both hands while insisting that they must remain the exclusive font of all policy:
Ivan Krastev, a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, had an interesting NYT column on the disenchantment of the European public with the meritocrats who have been largely running governments there for the last three decades. Krastev's main conclusion is that the public doesn't identify with an internationally-oriented group of meritocrats who possess skills that are easily transferable from their home country to other countries.

While this lack of sufficient national identity may play a role in the dislike of the meritocrats, there is a much simpler explanation: they have done a horrible job. Much of Europe continues to suffer from high unemployment, or low employment rates, almost a decade after the collapse of housing bubbles sent the continent's economy in a downward spiral. The meritocrats deserve the blame for both the weak recovery and allowing dangerous bubbles to grow in the first place. In most countries, most of the population has seen declining incomes over the last decade in spite of the substantial technological progress we have seen over this period.
It doesn't matter if it is the City of London, or Brussels, or Wall Street, or Washington, DC, or Berlin, these people nearly destroyed our world, and continue to promulgate policies that do not work, and still they remain largely in charge of our policy apparatus.

These people need to have a job that involves asking, "Do you want fries with that?"

This Should Surprise No One

Russia has just completed an agreement with Syria expanding their access to the Syrian port of Tartus:
Russia and Syria have signed an agreement this week to expand Russia’s sole foreign base – a naval repair facility in Syria – into a larger naval base capable of permanently hosting 11 ships, according to the agreement issued by the Russian government.

The agreement — signed on Wednesday – would allow the Tartus installation to expand to berth larger surface combatants and submarines, according to Russian state-controlled press reports.

“The deal stipulates that 11 Russian vessels can be present in the harbor of Tartus at once, including the ships equipped with nuclear marine propulsion, provided that nuclear and environmental safety guidelines are respected,” read a report in the Kremlin-controlled Sputnik wire.
“Russia promises to send to Syria, at its request, specialists to help restore Syrian warships and will help organize the defense of the harbor of Tartus and help mount search and rescue operations in Syrian waters.”
This is not surprising.

There was always going to be a quid pro quo for Russia's support of the Assad regime.

Obama Just put the Lie to the Clinton's Red Baiting

In his final Presidential press conference, Barack Obama said that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked:
Three U.S. Intelligence Agencies (CIA, NSA and FBI) claim that IT-Systems of the Democratic National Committee were "hacked" in an operation related to the Russian government. They assert that emails copied during the "hack" were transferred by Russian government related hackers to Wikileaks which then published them.

President Obama disagrees. He says those emails were "leaked".

Wikileaks had insisted that the emails it published came from an insider source not from any government. The DNC emails proved that the supposedly neutral Democratic Party committee had manipulated the primary presidential elections in favor of the later candidate Hillary Clinton. This made it impossible for the alternative candidate Bernie Sanders to win the nomination. Hillory Clinton, who had extremely high unfavorable ratings, lost the final elections.

………

Here is President Obama in his final press conference yesterday (vid @8:31):
First of all, I haven't commented on WikiLeaks, generally. The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether Wikileaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC emails that were leaked.
The DNC emails "that were leaked" - not "hacked" or "stolen" but "leaked".

One wonders if this is a parting shot is primarily aimed at the involved Intelligence Agencies led by James Clapper and John Brennan. Or is dissing Hillary Clinton and her narrative the main purpose?
Dissing Hillary is the main purpose.

If Obama weren't thoroughly in the pocket of Clapper and Brennan, he would have fired them when they lied to and spied on members of Congress.

More importantly, it indicates that the DNC email leaks were an inside job, not the work of the GRU (read the reports, the FSB may have gotten into the DNC, but they did not redistribute the results, basic spycraft).

Snark of the Day

As a woman with a Trump scarf on climbed into the backseat of a black Suburban — her driver standing by her side, eagerly waiting for her to sit down so he could close the door — she kept lunging out the vehicle to give her commentary on the scene around her. She was clearly disgusted by the marchers surrounding her car. At one point, the woman in the Suburban said to a passerby:

“If you people had jobs, you wouldn’t be out here doing this mess.”

As this happened, another woman walked by and, without pausing to look at the Chevrolet Suburbanite, said:

“Bitch, it’s Saturday.”
NY Mag

21 January 2017

This is a Fascinating Perspective on Hillary and Trump Supporters

Frequently the analysis is about how the winners and losers in an increasingly interconnected and technical worls engage in her.

Using the example of the opoid epidemic, Lambert Strether makes another point, that the professional and credentialed class (Hillary's base) has benefited from the losses of the working class:
That said, can we think of any reasons beyond despair why rural voters might vote red (and not blue)? I think we can, if we look at the role that urban credentialed professionals and institutions play. In “Credentialism and Corruption: The Opioid Epidemic and ‘the Looting Professional Class'” I wrote:
CEOs, marketing executives, database developers, marketing collateral designers, the sales force, middle managers of all kinds, and doctor: All these professions are highly credentialed. And all have, or should have, different levels of responsibility for the mortality rates from the opoid epidemic; executives have fiduciary responsibility; doctors take the Hippocratic Oath; those highly commissioned sales people knew or should have known what they were selling. Farther down the line, to a database designer, OXYCONTIN_DEATH_RATE might be just another field. Or not! And due to information asymmetries in corporate structures, the different professions once had different levels of knowledge. For some it can be said they did not know. But now they know; the story is out there. As reader Clive wrote:
Increasingly, if you want to get and hang on to a middle class job, that job will involve dishonesty or exploitation of others in some way.
And you’ve got to admit that serving as a transmission vector for an epidemic falls into the category of “exploitation of others.”
And I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think that red-shift voters would identify Clinton’s base in the urban, professional classes with the very same people responsible for the opioid epidemic that was killing their families. Consciously? I don’t know. Viscerally? I’d bet on it.
It isn't just the opiod crisis.

You see it in healthcare price increases (Doctors and administrators benefit), the skyrocketing cost of education (Administrators and tenure track professors), finance ('nuff said), etc.

The professional, college educated class needs to understand that they are not spectators to the destruction of  working class lives and livelihoods, they actively benefit from this destruction.

To fix this requires sacrifices on our part.

An Historical Perspective for Bank Failure Friday


Since the introduction of federal deposit insurance


From 1921 to Present
Over at Calculated Risk, they have the numbers for bank failures since the creation of federal deposit insurance:
In 2016, five FDIC insured banks failed. This was the lowest level since 2007.

Most of the great recession / housing bust / financial crisis related failures are behind us.

The first graph shows the number of bank failures per year since the FDIC was founded in 1933.

………

The second graph includes pre-FDIC failures. In a typical year - before the Depression - 500 banks would fail and the depositors would lose a large portion of their savings.
The late 1980s bank failures were caused by corruption and control fraud.

The 1990s bank failures would have been far larger if we hadn't bailed them all out.

Pre FDIC is just f%$#ing scary.

20 January 2017

The Source of the Problem Spends $20 Million to Find the Source of the Problem

The pro-corporate anti-people wing of the Democratic party is set to spend $20 million to find someone else to blame:
Hoping to help Democrats recover from what it has dubbed the party’s “worst electoral position since the Civil War,” a centrist think tank is launching a $20 million campaign to study how the party lost its way and offer a new economic agenda for moving forward.

The think tank, Third Way, on Tuesday is set to launch “New Blue,” a campaign to help Democrats reconnect with the voters who have abandoned the party. The money will be spent to conduct extensive research, reporting and polling in Rust Belt states that once formed a Blue Wall, but which voted for president-elect Donald Trump last November.

………

Part of the economic message the group is driving -- which is in line with its centrist ideology -- is to steer the Democratic Party away from being led into a populist lurch to the left by leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Let me save you $20 million:  Relentlessly careerist political operatives, who have never done an honest day's work in their lives, and loathe those who do honest work, are the problem.

Look in the f$#@ing mirror, and quit sucking up to Wall Street and big Pharma.*

Better yet, why don't you quit your damn job, and join a monastery, preferably one that has a vow of silence.

*I'm talking to you, Corey Booker.

Snark of the Day

NATO called 'obsolete' by Trump, anyone who saw them fight in Afghanistan
Duffelblog
Troof.

Selections from America's Finest News Source

The Onion on the inauguration:
I'm not sure if the Biden one or the drone one is the best.

Well, It's Official