2:00PM Water Cooler 7/3/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


List of traitors in House and Senate, with phone numbers. Hat tip, reader Vatch. Be sure to visit them when they return to the district.


Jim Webb throws his medals into the ring [WaPo]. Personally, I think the Democrats have stumbled into a “two sheepdog” strategy; Governor Jawline on the “left,” and Webb on the right. Webb will now pull the Democrats toward the Blue Dog pit, in which they already all too willing to wallow, and O’Malley will try to marginalize Sanders. (Note that the “sheepdog” metaphor requires conscious collusion between shepherd (the party) and sheepdog (the candidates) to herd the sheep (voters). Not only do I deprecate categorizing voters as sheep — I think it’s disempowering and demeaning to exactly the people who need to be persuaded, and in addition buys into the elite frame that working people are animals destined for slaughter — I think the metaphor is way too simple. In addition, conscious collusion assumes the Democratic leadership is conscious, but that fact isn’t in evidence.


Grey Lady bestirs itself to *research Sanders’ youthful follies, circa 1970, under the banner of “a useful insight into the formative thinking” [New York Times]. Sheesh. If the same level of scrutiny had been applied to Obama so early, we might actually know if he wrote anything while editor of the Harvard Law Journal, or how he got into Columbia.

“Richard Trumka has a message for state and local AFL-CIO leaders tempted to endorse Bernie Sanders: Don’t” [Politico]. Labor’s national misleadership is teh awsum. Can’t somebody clever instigate a rebellion from some locals? 

“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the iconoclastic Democratic presidential challenger who is attracting large crowds of progressives, raised $15 million in his first two months as a candidate, his campaign said Friday” [WaPo]. A quarter of what Clinton raised, but then Sanders doesn’t have an ocean liner to maintain.

Sanders raised his money almost completely online, holding only a handful of traditional fundraising events. … His campaign said he received nearly 400,000 contributions from roughly 250,000 people. The average donation was $33.51, the campaign said.

Dovetailing neatly with the “Big Crowds” strategy, and also interestingly Dean 2004-like. Maybe Sanders should put a tumbril instead of a bat on his website. Kidding!

NOTE * “The image of the upper trigram, Kên, is the mountain [the Green Mountain State], that of the lower, K’an, is water [Burlington’s Lake Champlain]” (Wilhelm translation). At least that’s what an aging hippie might think…

The S.S. Clinton

“10 moments of world-class sucking up over-the-top flattery in Hillary’s inbox” [Politico].  A fine curated collection. (Reminds me of this piece: “The ‘U.S. military’s marathon, 30-year, single-elimination, suck-up tournament’.” And I would swear we had a piece at NC about tournament theory. But for the life of me I can’t find it. Readers?) I think this is the best on so far, however, and it’s been out since June 22:

Another email shows Mr. Blumenthal eager for Mrs. Clinton to receive credit for the intervention, which culminated in Mr. Gadhafi’s death.

“This is an historic moment and you will be credited for realizing it,” he wrote August 22, 2011. “When Qaddafi is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment.” Mrs. Clinton didn’t appear to respond to that message, either.

Yes, another country on the Mediterrean set ablaze, with failed state bonus points. Mission accomplished! (And “didn’t appear to respond” is a delicate way of saying we don’t know if Clinton responded or not, since she privatized her email server, and then released only a partial set of records.)

Republican Establishment

Jebbie concern trolls uppity nigras urban youth [Gawker]. I’ll just leave this here:

BUSH: Kids in this country are aimlessly wandering around in their lives because they’ve never been told they were capable of learning. They’ve never been challenged to achieve far better. They’ve never really had the kind of mentoring and nurturing that gives them the sense their lives could be better. You see what happens in Baltimore and Ferguson. You see the tragedies play out. You see people becoming so despondent they take actions that are horrific.

Republican Principled Insurgents

Obama on Walker: “Mr. Obama likened Mr. Walker and the ‘bus full’ of Republican candidates to an ‘Uncle Harry’ at Thanksgiving dinner who says something that makes no sense” [New York Times]. Giving Walker a boost with binary thinkers who see Obama as the devil incarnate.

Republican Clown Car

Maine’s LePage endorsesChristie [Bloomberg], which ought to be the kiss of death for LePage, since Christie looks like Leon Trotsky to LePage’s base. “Christie said he was happy to receive the support ‘from somebody who knows what it’s like to run a blue state.'” Maine is by no means a blue state. In 2014, LePage won by 48.3% to 43.3% (with 8.4% going to a third-party candidate, whose voters were not owned by the two front-runners); check the map at the link. Maine is more like three states, two red. If Christie is trying to make either LePage or himself look like Walker’s equal in Democrat-stomping, he’s delusional.

Politico on these disunited states [Politico].

Examine a wide range of phenomena at the county level—presidential voting results, indices of health, income inequality, education, social mobility, dialects and religiosity—and you’ll see a recognizable pattern of regional ideologies and political preferences going back a century or more. It isn’t and never has been as simple as North versus South, urban and rural, or the effete coasts set against the rugged interior. Rather, our most abiding geographic differences can be traced back to the contrasting ideals of the distinct European colonial cultures that first took root on the eastern and southern rims of what is now the United States and then spread across much of the continent in mutually exclusive settlement bands, laying down the institutions, symbols and cultural norms later arrivals would encounter and, by and large, assimilate into.

Despite a lot of migration and the creation of more and more cosmopolitan metropolitan areas, these regional divisions have in many respects been growing stronger, not weaker, over time, hobbling our sense of common purpose and Congress’ effort to do something as routine as passing a budget.


Understanding our divisions requires going beyond state boundaries and conventional regional categories they delineate. Often arbitrarily chosen, state borders slash through cohesive regional cultures, which is why there are massive political fault lines in states like Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Texas and Oregon.

Stats Watch

No stat stats today, but related stories:

“An unfruitful jobs recovery rewrites the definition of full employment” [WaPo]. Been saying this for years (2009; [lambert blushes modestly].

“The size of the labor force tanked last month, helping to make for a very mixed June jobs report” [Bloomberg].

Mosler deconstructs the cheerleading: “Not good, remember how they cheered the 280,000 new jobs in May, and downplayed the rise in unemployment and the increase in the participation rate? Now May is down to 254,000 and the participation rate fell way back, so they are playing up the drop in unemployment” [Mosler Economics].

“For small banks, both nationally and regionally, commercial and industrial (C&I), real estate, and consumer loan totals increased by double-digit rates from the first quarter of 2014” [EconIntersect].

“Taking a broad view, under Obama the American economy has done worse than it has done under any Democratic president since the Civil War” [Brad DeLong]. However, this is an unfair and tendentious excerpt of DeLong’s thoughtful piece.

“The Shanghai stock exchange has lost 1479.435 points (or 29%) since June 12” [Confounded Interest]. That seems like rather a lot.


“Before negotiations could resume following a potential request from Greece, the Eurogroup would have to agree and the German parliament mandate his government to negotiate, Schaeuble said. It will take its time,’ he told [Bild]. ‘One thing I know already: These would be difficult negotiations, because the situation in Greece has dramatically deteriorated in recent weeks.'” Said Schaeuble, licking his chops. He doesn’t say “difficult” for whom, but I think I can guess [Market News].

Excellent cartoon, which sadly I cannot reproduce here, but do click through [Alex]. Because it’s all about the fee fees!

“The Board of Directors of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) decided today to opt for a Reservation of Rights on EFSF loans to Greece, after the non-payment of Greece to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)” [Market News]. This is a little bit Delphic to me, but perhaps knowledgeable readers can weigh in. Be sure to read the whole piece, though!

“Greek banks down to €500m in cash reserves as economy crashes” [Daily Telegraph]. That doesn’t seem like much.

No contagion so far: “For us as investors, we trust (ECB President Mario) Draghi will do whatever it takes to prevent a liquidity crisis from occurring,” said Alain Zeitouni, head of Russell Investments France. “This ‘Draghi-put’ is, and remains, a major reason why we are still looking at current events from the perspective of a buying opportunity” [Market News]. Ah, the Draghi put.

On a possible Greek challenge to expulsion from the Eurozone in the European Court of Justice: “That level of uncertainty might give Greece the encouragement to float the possibility of a challenge, and if nothing else it delivers the prospect of a drawn out legal battle that struggles to reach a satisfactory conclusion – but which would probably still buy a bucketful of bargaining time” [Econintersect].

On the IMF “Preliminary debt sustainability analysis”  (PDF), which is on the referendum ballot: “[P]art of the political challenge of these lending programs: undertake massive effort on ‘reforms’ and you might, if everything else goes well, get a not-especially-exciting growth rate [2%]. And the voters on Sunday don’t even know which set of “reforms” they are voting on, let alone their long-term consequences” [Fistful of Euros].

“Greece is not the only country with voters” [Op-Ed, New York Times]. Lots of harrumphing and plenty to disagree with here, but that part the writer got right. “[E]ach of Mr. Tsipras’s fellow European prime ministers already has their own democratic mandate.” This is the Democratic deficit in the EU so often spoke of. Unfortunately, this deficit can’t be fixed at the nation-state level, as the cheerleaders seem to believe.

Mechanics on referendum day [@BrunoBrussels].

So Greece has privatized ballot counting. And it looks like the ballots will not be hand-counted, and not in public. Granted, I’ve got nothing against Singular Logic, but the Greek referendum does not meet the “gold standard” for balloting.

Health Care

“[T]he roots of the flawed [Vermont Health Care] rollout lie in fact in the market-based approach of the Affordable Care Act, with its insurance industry-guided design, complete with tiers of coverage and eligibility restrictions. Rather than ushering in a new era of treating health care as a right and a public good for all, the ACA has enshrined a fundamentally unjust market-based system with different and unequal insurance products, different and unequal prices for health services, and different and unequal access to care” [Burlington Free Press]. Mission accomplished!

News of the Wired

“Consciousness has less control than believed, according to new theory” [Science Daily].

Social media and deliberative democracy [Understanding Society].

There is a great deal of research underway on the network graphs that can be identified within social media populations. But an early takeaway seems to be that segmentation rather than convergence appears to be the most common pattern. This seems to run contrary to the goals of deliberative democracy. Rather than exposing themselves to challenging ideas from people and sources in the other community, people tend to stay in their own circle.

Important. Remember Conway’s Law, however: “Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.” All the social media software was written by brogrammers (in Zuckerberg’s case, an especially noxious one) and funded, at least in large part, by squillionaire glibertarians. So perhaps another world is possible.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (H):

One more from H’s permaculture project in Texas:


Wow! H writes:

1) Passionflower (rampant on our property)

Not sure they’d grow in Zone 5b, though…

Readers, if any of you do some work in the garden over the long weekend, please use the contact form. I know H isn’t the only one with a permaculture project out there!

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. I need to keep my server up! And pay the plumber….


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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.


  1. flora

    Understanding our divisions requires going beyond state boundaries and conventional regional categories they delineate. “

    Yes. It requires looking at ALEC and the Citizens United decision, all the dark money being spent and voter suppression laws. Without that, what’s happened in Wisconsin and Kansas doesn’t fit any pattern that Politico’s take purports to show. In fact Politico’s article looks like an attempt to mislead.

    1. Carla

      Here’s the money quote:

      “After fierce protests last week by licensed French taxi drivers who argue it threatens their livelihood with unfair competition, France took two executives from California-based Uber into custody and said they will face trial in September.”

      Now, that’s the ticket. I suspect it wasn’t the violent protests that made Uber pull back, but the jailing of two of their executives…

  2. Brindle

    re: NYT/Sanders….

    Sanders, with his “mind fizzing”, away sounds like a sort of benevolent Dr. Evil.
    Also carpentry is the of the most basic and useful skills for anyone to have—nothing “odd” about it.

    —-“Mr. Sanders was barely 30, full of restless energy, with wild curly hair, a brash Brooklyn manner and a mind fizzing with plans to remake the world. Short on money but long on ideas, he found employment where he could, supporting himself through odd jobs like carpentry work.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And Jewish. Now I know Bernie’s parents came from New York, but could it be a cover story? Let us consider, Bernie is the Senator from Vermont. Vermont’s population is largely composed of French-Canadians. The maternal lines in French Canada come from the Cathars region of Francis where Mary Magdeline supposedly relocated. I really can’t see how Bernie isn’t the descendant of Jesus of Nazareth.

        He’s probably Batman too. I’ve never seen them in a room together.

        1. craazyboy

          All the dots connect! Maybe he can’t be president after all.

          Good point about Batman, too.

          1. Code Name D

            I have never seen Clinton in the same room with the Joker ether. It’s all not connected!!

    1. Vince in MN

      And in her youth, Hillary sold Koolaid on the street corner. In fact, still does.

  3. craazyboy

    Hillary Getting Caught Up On Her Emails

    Hillary is at home in her office, an exact duplicate of the White House Franklin Delano Roosevelt Room, and is busy typing on FDR’s typewriter, which has been modified to connect to the server farm in the room next door via a short range encrypted Bluetooth connection. On the wall above Hillary is FDR’s antique shootin’ iron and a shrunken head of dubious origin.

    “Dear Mr. Blumenthal,” types Hillary,

    “Sorry I didn’t get around to thanking you yet for your kind advice and also those fine autographed anti-personnel mines. The other box containing the shrunken head from ‘Anonymous Admirer’ had Bill and I tickled pink – tho, of course, we know you had nothing to do with that now, don’t we? :)

    But I did want to let you know that I decided to release this specific email because it would get some media play, as you recommended. In all modesty, I can’t take all the credit for Libya, but I almost feel like I led the charge against the Palace gates. [Hillary looks up at the shrunken head wistfully.]

    Don’t worry about your other emails – I have my own email privacy policy. In fact, Bill and I had a DOD contractor come in and mount all those cute anti-personal mines you sent on the walls of my server room. I’ve got a red button on my desk wired to a flashbang in the server room and the concussive shock will set off all the land mines. The server room is steel lined already, so we figure the shrapnel will ricochet all over the place until the entire server farm is shredded. Then we already had a gasoline drum connected to the overhead fire extinguisher system, so that will kick in and make sure no emails are left recoverable. Besides, I’m working on my campaign funding now, and it’s no ones business where that comes from!

    Thanks again, and feel free to invite me to dinner anytime. I go for $250,000 – make the check payable to Hillary’s Campaign Fund, this time. If you can get media coverage, Bill says he’ll come too, for free.


    1. petal

      She was in town today but I was unable to attend because I had to put in a full day’s work on what should’ve been a day off for me. At the beginning of the week, this event was to occur at a $3.8 million mansion next to campus and was completely private, then it was turned into a public but you have to sign up first thing at this same mansion/mansion’s lawn, then by yesterday it was changed to a place on campus outside and anyone could show up but had to go through SS security check(no bags, signs, etc), change was made supposedly due to “huge amount of interest from the public”. Yeah right. Will see what I can find for information on what happened and how it all went down. Cheers.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary is running as the status quo candidate. If she’s the nominee, her supporters can be thanked for guaranteeing a GOP president.

        2. craazyboy

          N.H. isn’t a very Democrat friendly state, is it?

          But of course the GOP will repeal O Care. But for the wrong reasons. Then they’ll ramrod thru TPP again if it fails. Then drug prices go up even more.

          Who is it that votes for these people?

          1. petal

            The Upper Valley where I live is pretty Dem-leaning. Most of the state is red but there are blue pockets-enough so the state has become purplish. At least around this area there are a lot of yuppies/well-off boomer-types that love her to bits and can’t wait to see her as first woman pres, etc(yeah, I know, don’t barf, but that’s what they say).

            1. petal

              Here’s another one from The Dartmouth this morning before the event occurred. I’ll keep looking. I’m sure there’ll be something in the local paper in the morning.

  4. George Phillies

    Several Congressmen, one a Presidential candidate, have sent a letter to the IMF, questioning its approach. A year of a Presidential candidate of the Democrats attacking the IMF may give them something to look forward to. After all, most Americans have never heard of the IMF.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s not even clear the IMF wants to be in this mess. So, perhaps there’s opportunity here for them. However, reading it, I can see how it translates directly to the insanity of austerity here (see DeLong’s link for the gentlest possible version of this). So, good.

  5. TarheelDem

    Could you start framing the TPP/TTIP/TSA traitors as bipartisan with both Republicans and Democrats. I have a number of Republican friends who are furious that the TPA passed and very worried about what they have found out about contents of the agreement.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      We could… Ya know, now that I think of it, the oppo column would be good way to expose differences and, more likely, similarities (likely candidate: servicing the local oligarch).

      1. Code Name D

        Maybe you need to start recruiting some more writers and bloggers to contribute to NC. There is so much evil to expose and so little time.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        Put the traitors of both parties on a short post of its own that includes nothing else except for a brief explanation of why the perps are listed as such. Also, denote those who voted for the TPA in committee with an asterisk or some such; they deserve special scorn.

  6. Kokuanani

    Lambert, I really appreciate your up close & personal dissection of the politics of Maine.


  7. Benedict@Large

    I was thinking that Trumka should just go out and get a job at one of those anti-labor lobbying firms, but why bother? He’s much more effective doing that from where he is.

    The Democratic Party; where the labor movement went to die.

    1. grayslady

      It’s pretty clear Trumka has a tin ear. Telling the rank and file that they can’t support a candidate who clearly cares about labor is a good way to get yourself bounced out of a job.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Look at gay rights in recent years. Between the Vermont civil unions and the supreme court ruling, what did Team Blue do? Nothing. The DADT repeal came after a federal judge ruled DADT unconstitutional for the region that includes the Pentagon and any soldier under Central Command. Prior to that the Obama Administration was fighting for the constitutional status of DADT.

      If a group wants to flourish, you have to leave Team Blue.

      1. hunkerdown

        How do you know that, in the absence of Team Blue, the government would not have more vigorously fought the admission of upper-income gay whites to full and equal membership in the liberal bourgeoisie, instead of the sham defense the Attorney General did offer?

        (“Gay rights”, lawl. Queer Black teens still have a whole lot of suicide and a whole lot of homelessness.) You’re still right, though; if you want to flourish (as opposed to being bonsaied), you have to leave Team Blue.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          True. I shouldn’t ignore issues related to economic and youth support, but at the same time, they victories the Democrats actively fought against. They became so popular even a pig like Obozo is working over time to claim credit. Democrats are claiming a victory over an issue they would have said the population wasn’t ready f or two years ago.

  8. Vatch

    I don’t think the “people as sheep” or “sheeple” metaphor is offensive here in the United States. It would be offensive to refer to people in North Korea, Nazi Germany, or the Stalinist Soviet Union that way, because those people are or were oppressed by a huge police state apparatus. If a person in one of those countries attempted to actively oppose the government, he or she would be immediately arrested, and quite possibly killed. So it is or was unfair to expect non-sheeplike behavior from people in those countries.

    Here in the U.S., people still have the opportunity to actively fight against the oligarchs and their government. Yes, there are places that resemble a police state (Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, are examples), but we can still vote and express our opinions to politicians, bureaucrats, and business executives. Perhaps more importantly, we can express our opinions to each other. A primary reason why such voting and venting is not very effective is that so many Americans choose to continue to behave like sheep. The sheeple metaphor is both accurate and useful here in the U.S. People can choose to stop being sheep, and that is very empowering.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      “People can choose to stop being sheep.” But sheep cannot, which is the whole point of the metaphor. Vanguard types love it for that reason. Sorry, it’s just a category error, and an elitist one at that.

      1. Code Name D

        I would say that your analogy is not apt for another reason. The voters are not sheep, but rather playing poker with an opponent who has palmed the Aces. They can vote for whom ever they want, but as the candidates drop out one by one, their delegates will all go to Clinton. So you have some fake candidates from the left to split the Sanders vote, and fake candidates from the Blue Dogs to siphon away the moderates.

        Make no mistake, this is a fight between Sanders and Hillry, no mater how many dems throw their hat into the ring.

      2. Vatch

        It’s a metaphor (people resemble sheep), not an identity (people = sheep). It’s likely that the metaphor connotes something different for you than it does for me. What word or words should be used to describe people who have the opportunity to do something about political problems such as extreme inequality, but who voluntarily avoid doing so?

        1. Lambert Strether

          Indeed, it is. Metaphors work by positing similarity: “Out, out, brief candle!” — life is light, transient, blown out by greater forces. Of course, life doesn’t equal a candle. “If music be the food of love, play on.” I’ll need to write a paper on the similarities there.

          You want to invoke “sheeple” without positing that people are not similar to sheep, not sheep-like. But you can’t have it both ways, because of course if sheep could choose not to be sheep, they wouldn’t be sheep!

          1. Vatch

            Well, I guess I emphasize a different aspect of sheep: their passivity, rather than their inability to change. If the inability of a species to change to something else is the most important feature of a metaphor, then every animal metaphor for humans would be invalid. One of the most important aspects of the sheep metaphor is the implication that people should not be like that, and if they are, then they should change.

            On a lighter note:


  9. ewmayer

    Pilot Pulls Wrong Throttle, Kills 43; Tennessee Train Crash Releases Toxic Fumes, 5,000 Evacuated; Robot-Preventable Accidents | Mish

    Having followed Mish since 2007, this quote from the piece illustrates why he has fallen greatly in my estimation in the past several years:

    ‘Don’t email me with security issues because I am 100% confident that any security issues related to software hijacking etc. can easily be solved.’

    I.e. he’s in full-blown echo-chamber ‘no dissent will be tolerated’ mode when it comes to his pet theses, especially those of the techno-utopian variety. When one stops listening to one’s readers – especially the not-obviously-bunkum-spewing dissenters – and seals oneself into a self-referential intellectual vacuum, one has become no better than the propaganda organs of the state in the MSM, or other notorious echo-chamber bloggers like Krugman.

    And of course ‘100% confident’ Mish fails to mention a crucial aspect of cases like the pilot error one above – this was perfectly illustrated the 2014 Asiana landing-approach crash at SFO (almost exactly 2 years ago today) – namely, why have fleetwide airline-pilot hand-flying skills atrophied so much in the past few decades. Duh – because of the rise of more-or-less fully automated flight systems, the ‘less’ of course coming into play at crucial outside-the-usual-flight-envelope instances. To use an analogy familiar to regular NC readers, the ‘reliability and sophistication’ provided by automated flight systems is very much like the illusion of market depth created by the ‘junk liquidity’ of highly automated HFT-dominated markets: When you most need it, it magically vanishes. Many young airline pilots – especially in countrries whose regulations treat simulator training on a near-par with actual “flying the plane” – have shockingly little manual-flying experience.

    Of course the Mishes of the world would offer an easy-peasy ‘I am 100% confident that any issues related to [insert failure mode here] can easily be solved’ solution in the form of ‘we need to mandate 100% automation ASAP!’.

    If it looks like a self-licking ice cream cone, and quacks like a self-licking ice cream cone…

    1. charles 2

      This is a straw man argument.
      Mish doesn’t say that robots will be 100% fool proof, he says that the software hacking aspect can be solved, which is true, provided one is ready to not use any of the commonly used OSes (use something like sel4 for instance, note General Dynamics as one of the contributors)

      Robots don’t need to be 100% foolproof to replace human, they just need to be better. For the remaining cases, as for humans, an insurance mechanism should apply.
      Also note that, as Tyler Cowen observed in the case of chess, Computer may be better than human, but Computer plus Human can still better than Computer, at least for a while. This is actually already the case for flying : When Chesley Sullenberger “landed” his engineless aircraft on the Hudson, he actually used the anti-stalling function of the autopilot to minimize its speed. He probably had great “manual-flying” experience, but had the humility to defer to the computer for that.
      Can all pilots be as good as Chesley Sullenberger ? Probably not and certainly not cost effective. Could we find a way in the future that only a few Chesley Sullenbergers are needed because there is an ability to take over the flying of the robot plane remotely (after all, that is what is routinely done with USAF Drones today) in case of emergency ? The proof will have to be in the pudding, but I believe so.

    2. Jack

      Even if he’s correct about the security, that still leaves the issue of yet another job lost. I doubt he would be so enthusiastic for robots if it was his cushy job lined up to be replaced.

  10. ewmayer

    Yves – please clean out some space in your e-mail box – this is the 2nd ‘over quota’ bounce message I’ve gotten in 24 hours after trying to send mail to you:
    Email not delivered to

    XXX@XXXXXXXXX.XXX didn’t get the message you sent, but the other mailing list members did.

    Is that address correct? If so, wait a few minutes, then try sending the message again, just to them. Find the email in your Sent folder, then copy and paste it into a new message.

    If you continue to get this error, try a different method (phone, text, social network, alternate email) to get your message to them.

    Technical details are attached. Find out more information about this 5.2.2 bounce message.

    Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 452-4.2.2 The email account that you tried to reach is
    over quota.

  11. Kim Kaufman

    1. Some people think O’Malley is running for Hillary’s VP.

    2. “LePage won by 48.3% to 43.3% (with 8.4% going to a third-party candidate, whose voters were not owned by the two front-runners);”

    Would the independents have voted for Dems otherwise?

    3. Something has to be done about Trumka and AFL-CIO.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      On Cutler, I think it would have been an even split (see this chart). Maine voters gradually abandoned Cutler, and that didn’t seem to net out positive for either candidate. “Democratic ***cough*** strategists believe that Cutler was closer to Democrats on the issues, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to votes. The Portland Sunday-Telegram:

      The findings include results that show respondents view Michaud as the more likable candidate, but they believe LePage better understands them.

  12. charles 2

    Re: EFSF Reservation of Right.

    Explanation : it is Euro legalese for “extend and pretend”, if EFSF didn’t reserve its right, all the monies due by Greece would become payable immediately, thus creating a real event of default (being late to the IMF or the ECB is not an event of default, as per rating agencies opinion ), which may create “unwelcome” other event of default elsewhere (for instance in trade finance, all these nice german and french weapons have probably been financed by the equivalent of Exim Bank for respective countries).

    The EFSF guarantees have been carefully drafted so that they have an impact on the Guarantors budgets only when the EFSF cannot fund itself (it is an Eurostat rule). There is no such thing in Eurozone Public Accounts than provisioning when a loss becomes probable. So as long as anyone wants to buy EFSF bonds and notes, guarantors are off the hook. A nod and wink from the ECB (and some plain QE purchases) and I am sure there will be plenty of hedge funds (or to complete the circle jerk, many quasi-state investors like national pension fund reserves) willing to subscribe.

Comments are closed.