Links 7/19/15

Fish learn fear from their role models Science (Todd M).

Mosquitoes Use Smell to See Their Hosts Bioscience Technology

Google Adds a Record $60 Billion to Its Stock in One Day Bloomberg

Bitcoin and space travel are two of the fastest-growing areas of venture-capital funding Quartz (furzy mouse). “Two of the industries most historically owned by the government.”

Documents Published by WikiLeaks Reveal the NSA’s Corporate Priorities Truthout

How Lynn Tilton Went From Company Savior to SEC Target Bloomberg. Annals of private equity.

Why Homejoy’s collapse is not a harbinger of doom for the on-demand economy WaPo. Apparently, “shafting sharing economy” has passed its sell-by date, so WaPo has refreshed the concept with new obfuscatory verbiage.

Exclusive: Uber, Lyft face disability access questions from Massachusetts Reuters

A drone firing a gun: so this is what all the regulation is about The Stack

Silicon Valley Doesn’t Believe U.S. Productivity Is Down Wall Street Journal. Those dudes in Silicon Valley are so arrogant they think D.C. needs help jiggering the numbers.

Thai police say London-based news outlet tampered with documents to discredit Najib Straits Times. Presumably, the Najib government will have to sign TPP. But Prime Minister Najib seems pre-occupied….

Manage, meddle or magnify? China’s corporate debt threat Reuters

Boeing Warns Passenger Airlines That Carrying Bulk Shipments Of Lithium Batteries Can Cause Major Fires Onboard International Business Times

How to Speak Foreign Policy Like a Beltway Native Foreign Policy.


SPIEGEL Interview with Wolfgang Schäuble: ‘There Is No German Dominance’ Der Spiegel. Today’s must read. “I don’t know if you happen to know what the word ‘excesses’ means….” –P.G. Wodehouse.

Wolfgang Schäuble, The Trust Troll Steve Keen, Forbes. Evil twin of the Confidence Fairy.

Greece Orders Banks To Re-Open Monday Reuters

Greece debt crisis news: Alexis Tsipras shows his Machiavellian streak in a purge of Syriza rebels Independent

Greece’s leftist government pledges privatization push; experts doubt 50B euro goal reachable US News

On the Aegean island that runs on cash, time is running out Guardian

Celebrities and world’s rich lining up to snap up Greek islands AFP

Greece looks to offshore oil and gas Reuters. Hopefully not near any of those newly snapped-up Richistani islands….

Tusk: Europe was ‘close to catastrophe’ over Greece Ekathimerini

Between heaven and hell Macropolis

In Athens Tariq Ali, LRB

Leaving a sour taste: EU foreign office wants to fork out £2MILLION on a new silver dinner set for Brussels chiefs Daily Mail. Dulled edges and bent tines after making a meal of Greece?

Lunch with the FT: Beppe Grillo FT. With Podemos hors de combat, the pink paper moves on…

How to dress for a eurodrama FT (Todd M).

An HA/DR Solution to South China Sea Tensions The Diplomat

Mexico: Making the Dogs Dance NYRB


Wall Street is picking its candidates in the 2016 presidential race — and 2 are already standing out Business Insider. Re Silc: “Crips or bloods; take your pick.”

O’Malley and Sanders interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters in Phoenix Guardian. So far as I can tell, O’Malley melted down, and Sanders at least got a Q&A going, but clearly in each case staff should have prepared the candidate for such contingencies. #BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mess around! Assuming the Kos organizers didn’t set the whole thing up, of course, Clinton very conveniently being absent. Not that I’m foily. The Beltway Shopper has a field day because the left.

Hearing Footsteps, Fake-Ass Progressives Rush to Demonize Bernie and Lionize Hillary Observer 

O’Malley more Conservative than Clinton? Crowdpac. “Crowdpac’s objective algorithm….”

Bernie Sanders isn’t Barack Obama, and 2016 isn’t 2008 WaPo. True. Sanders is highly unlikely to be able to (a) get Paul Volcker’s endorsement and (b) throw Volcker under the bus.

Barack Obama’s Long Game Politico 

Tip O’Neill’s Idea That All Politics Is Local Is How Government Dies Esquire (Re Silc).

Army Whistleblower Turns Populist American Conservative (Re Silc).

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Confronting myths about causes of the Civil War McClatchy

Police accused in Freddie Gray’s death say they gave statements under duress  Baltimore Sun. They feared losing their jobs.

Big business built the prison state. Why should we trust them to tear it down?  Guardian


Climate Defeatism is as Much a Threat to Human Survival as Climate Denial – Part 2 New Economic Perspectives

Continued destruction of Earth’s plant life places humankind in jeopardy, says UGA research University of Georgia

200 coal plants announced to retire since 2010 in US! That’s almost 40% of the country’s coal plants Treehugger

Nexen’s Brand New, Double-Layered Pipeline Just Ruptured, Causing One of the Biggest Oil Spills Ever in Alberta DeSmogCanada

Class Warfare

Capitalism: Morality and the money motive FT

“Conscious Capitalism” Icon Whole Foods Exploits Prison Labor Counterpunch

In Maine, a Minimum Wage Law With a Surprise Inside Bloomberg

Here’s why we should stop using the term ‘millennial’ as an age group or generation Linkedin. Put down your coffee. 

A former engineer says Intel has a ‘meritocracy’ problem Bloomberg

Gorgeous glass sculptures let you see into the world’s most deadly viruses The Verge (furzy mouse)

Ashes 2015, day three report: England’s revival is short-lived as Australia turn the screw Daily Telegraph. Also too, sledging.

How the Blitz sent Britain sex mad: New book reveals Hitler’s bid to bomb us into surrender had another startling effect Daily Mail

Antidote du jour:


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.


  1. MikeNY

    Good read in the FT on money. This from The Bard would fit in nicely (Romeo to the apothecary):

    There is thy gold – worse poison to men’s souls
    Doing more murder in this loathsome world
    Than these poor compounds that thou mayest not sell.

  2. Kokuanani

    I dunno, Lambert. I think locating the new Greek oil & gas drilling right next to or on the islands the rich snap up is a great idea.

    They’ve already tried this idea out in Santa Barbara.

    1. Gio Bruno

      …not sure where you’re going here, but Santa Barbara had thousands of oil derricks along the coast (Carpenteria) and on the coastal bluffs in the 1920’s. Now, not so much. The giant drilling rigs are now mostly located in the OCS (lease zone) 11 miles offshore. Not without consequence (January, 1968). The impact to the marine ecosystem by oil rigs (and their eventual Blowout) far outweighs their annoyance to a few rich folks.

    1. Ulysses

      Meanwhile, in Italy, the Greek crisis has woken up even former defenders of the Brussels/Berlin EZ regime to the grim reality they now face:

      “Krugman, Premio Nobel per l’economia, ha spesso tuonato contro i “maghi” dell’austerity europea, che impongono solo e sempre ricette disastrose. Sbagliano? No, purtroppo: retrocedere i popoli e i cittadini, ex consumatori ormai inutili, fa parte del piano. Diverranno sudditi, lavoratori-schiavi, senza più diritti sindacali e con salari da Bangladesh, alla periferia meridionale del Quarto Reich.”

      Paul Krugman has often sounded the alarm against the austerity wizards of Europe who impose only, and always, disastrous policies. Do these austerians have good intentions, but act in error? Unfortunately, no. To crush people and former citizens, now merely useless ex-consumers, is the plan. They will become subjects, worker-slaves, without labor rights and with Bangladesh-level wages, on the southern periphery of the Fourth Reich.

      (apologies for the very hasty translation!)

    2. McKillop

      Your neighbours (sic) to the north are more or less victims of a system that allows for a party (Conservatives) that gains a majority to do as it likes, once whipped. Canada has an election coming up but until then the parties in opposition -not all of whose members oppose TPP- can only yammer. People in the country are not overly able to influence policies that they care little about and know little about, influenced by past disheartening choices and lies. The Atlantic equivalent has already been signed.
      To expect Mr. Harper, the current Prime Minister and a person with more legislative power than POTUS, to respond against neolib/con policies is pointless. The Liberal party is also corporatist historically. Our ‘socialist’ guys -NDP- will be at best footdragging if they get elected.

      1. Ed

        I think its odd to blame parliamentary systems on this mess, as it was parliamentary tactics of Labour and Conservative backbench rebels in the 1990s that kept the UK out of the EU. And in the US these agreements are routinely passed with lopsided majorities from deputies from both “parties.”

      2. Ed

        I was typing the last comment with someone yelling in my ear about something, so I may have written “EU” when I meant “euro”.

  3. scott

    A local semiconductor company had a layoff several years back. It turned out that 97% of the over 100 laid off were white males over 50, many merely months from qualifying for retirement. Of course, the severance packages prohibited those involved from even talking about it, let alone suing for age discrimination (though several lawyers thought it was horribly blatant).

    1. Chris in Paris

      This company wouldn’t happen to be an instrumental actor in the Texas tech economy for many years?

      1. Howard Beale IV

        It could have been the one which uses a tree-themed logo and whose CEO makes Ayn Rand look like a liberal. What’s really scary now is that the number of companies who can actually produce chips has shrunk dramataically-it almost mirrors the pattern that we saw in the credit card industry in the last 20 years.

    2. Ivy

      Age, tenure, turnover, salary and benefit costs, including any pension funding, go into employee retention and layoff calculations. There are consultants that will help companies manage payroll and benefit programs to preserve earnings and to reduce the likelihood of litigation from terminated employees. Yes, your HR department is trying to find out more ways to screw you.

      That was evident during the 1990s era of re-engineering and has been fine-tuned. One example is skewed pension funding, for those lucky ones who still get pensions, with low amounts for years until a spike toward a putative retirement. Our company’s 60+ year old SVP/Treasurer saw through that and decried the trend, but got to make way for the young cheap alternatives. Tech and finance join manufacturing and other industries in such disruptions.

      Workers are not likely to reach those later high contribution years given the need to preserve a flexible workforce and meet market needs. Why expense so much now just to reverse it several years down the line?

    1. optimader

      My reply was deleted, so lets go Socratic.
      Considering it was a general directive, why is it relevant that number 787 be in the article?

      Follow up question, if activated carbon is used in the cabin air filters, by logical extension is it a mfgr design deficiency that you’re not allowed ship a box of powdered carbon in the cargo of a commercial passenger jet? If so, how so?

      Bo you think Airbus will issue a similar directive?

  4. andyb

    There are those that will debate whether climate change is real and based upon proven scientific evidence or just another attempt by the elites to obtain totalitarian control through carbon taxation. Whatever the truth, the fact remains that the most under reported story of our lifetime is the Fukushima disaster and the uncontrollable, unstoppable radiation emissions that has placed all residents of the Northern Hemisphere in harm’s way and is destroying all Pacific Ocean animal life. Puts the arguments about climate change in perspective.There is a high probability that anyone born in this area will contract a lethal cancer before the age of 40. Everyone should bookmark 2 sites: enenews and to understand the problem. Specifically with you will note that USA radiation readings are many times the former EPA acceptable dosages, when a CPM of above 50 was grounds for potential evacuation.

  5. Brindle

    re: O’Malley Sanders Interrupted By Black Lives Matter….

    This occurred at NN15 which to large degree is dominated by Daily Kos.
    Rep Keith Ellison, who was there, tweeted:

    “Sad to see guests of #NN15, Sanders & O’Malley, heckled/shouted down. Hard to win if divided. Circular firing squad is no winning strategy”

    From following some twitter threads on this (David Dayen was in the middle of it, literally) I noticed that there was definitely some glee by Hillary supporters who championed the meme that Sanders does not give credit to Obama enough etc. Whether one agrees with BLM tactics or not it was interesting to see that the Obots do not like Sanders one bit and it is not surprising at all that this occurred at NN15.
    Hillary no doubt has a Cheshire cat grin right now.

    1. wbgonne

      Sanders has no chance of getting the Democratic nomination. He is there to give the illusion of democracy and free-choice. The situation for the Democrats is similar to 2008 where the partisans rejected Clinton, mistakenly thinking Obama was the progressive alternative. Of course, Obama was anything but progressive and the people who run the Democratic Party, i.e., Wall Street, vetted Obama, knew him well, and then allowed him to beat Clinton. One might say that the purpose of Obama’s presidency, from the plutocrats’ perspective, was to demonstrate once and for all that there is no hope and there will be no change so you might as well get Ready for Hillary.

      Bernie Sanders, to the contrary, will never be allowed to win the Democratic nomination. It was just a matter of which assassin was chosen. Black racialists are perfect for the job. Get the Obots — who must defend Obama’s neoliberal policies at all costs and therefore are now lining up for Clinton — to go after Sanders as insuffciently deferential to identity-politics. After all, if Wall Street tries to take Sanders down directly it will backfire, which I’m sure they know.

      As for the content of the hecklers’ complaints, one should note that under Obama black childhood poverty has now surpassed the raw numbers of white children in poverty and child poverty has fallen for all groups except blacks. One might ask what causes more black deaths, childhood poverty or violence? And then one might ask why these black people are harrassing Sanders, who can do nothing, rather than Obama and his black attorneys general. The again, perhaps those questions answer themselves.

      1. Chris in Paris

        Seems identity politics is the weapon they’ve chosen — starting with the “exposé” of his 40 year old newsletter thought piece on dominance in male-female relations, the noises in MSM comments on his lack of standing re race issues and the Politico thingy on his child born outside of marriage.

        Wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point.

        1. wbgonne

          The schism in the Democratic Party seems to be worsening, likely because it is now being exploited. It’s like Nixon’s Southern Strategy, only the Democrats’ goal isn’t even to win elections but only to ensure that the party remains resolutely neoliberal at all costs. How else to explain losing to neanderthal Republicans than this: the Democrats would rather lose as neoliberals than win as economic populists. I am increasingly of the mind that the Democratic Party must collapse for Americans to reclaim democracy.

            1. wbgonne

              Yes, quite good. Maybe Frank just didn’t get to it in that particular interview snippet but the reason the country keeps moving Right against the wishes of the American people is the same reason the clown car Republicans beat the Democrats. The Democratic Party is chasing the GOP and forcing the entire duoploly evermore Right. The GOP wins not because more Americans subscribe to their views — they don’t — but because in a political duopoly disgust with one party manifests as support for the other party. People are disgusted with the Democrats because they are transparent phonies and hypocrites. The GOP is batshit but relatively honest.

          1. Brindle

            NN15 in Phoenix was billed with a focus on Immigration issues and Latinos. This did not sit very well with a small faction of African American activists. I have lived in mostly Latino communities and the relationship between Latinos and African Americans is generally not good from my observation.

            Certainly some interesting sub-plots going on here. Who do the activists who took over the town hall thing actually represent?

            —-Tia Oso, a Phoenix resident with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said she helped organize the protest because Black-rights issues were not represented at the annual national gathering of political progressives this year. While events for Latino immigrants were integrated into the convention, black immigrants were ignored, she said.

            “We had to do this,” she said. “This is the most important progressive gathering.”

            In a black shirt with white letting that said “Black love,” Oso climbed on stage with O’Malley to talk about racial inequality and law enforcement treatment of the Black population and to chide Netroots Nation’s programming for not addressing Black immigration issues, such as the Black refugees in Arizona who had to seek asylum because of U.S. foreign policy.—-


            1. wbgonne

              Interesting. I have seen reports that Sanders is doing quite well with Latinos. IMO, blacks are shooting themselves in both feet by not aligning with the broader movement for economic and social justice. Demanding special attention and special treatment will just lead to Al Sharpton’s empty sound and fury. Ka ching for the operators and manipulators but almost certainly a failed strategy that will accomplish nothing for the victims themselves. Empty, outdated tactics without a cohesive strategy. And what have we recently relearned regarding tactics without strategy? Ask the Greeks.

          2. Ed

            I’ve been making this point, and I think Sanders running as a Democrat was a strategic error.

            The Republicans have clamped down less on their base and will occasionally nominate and even elect maverick candidates. The Democrats are machine controlled, top to bottom. The Democrats are the US equivalent of PASOK.

            1. wbgonne

              I don’t know. I almost feel like this is a bag job. If the Democratic “left” really wanted to beat Clinton they had to run Elizabeth Warren, who has the clout to defeat Clinton. Sanders looks like the sacrificial lamb and the fact that he has already committed to supporting Clinton when she wins the nomination tells me he is more about the veneer than the substance.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                1) But Warren didn’t want to be run (though I note she has never said she would reject a draft.)

                2) If Sanders wants any Democratic votes, “he has to say that.” (Hate to deploy that talking point, but it’s true.) Running as an Independent would create huge problems of both ballot access and funding).

                1. wbgonne

                  I know Warren refused but that’s my point re: the fecklessness of the Democratic “left,” as a bloc. She was the only viable challenger and I’m quite sure Team Hillary knows it.

                  True that Sanders “has to” say he will support Clinton, but I don’t think he’s just saying it. I think he means. I fully expect Sanders — and Warren — to be out supoorting if not campaigning for Clinton.

                  Yes, a third party run for Sanders would almost certainly be doomed. But so is his quest for the Democratic nomination.

                  Of course, I have been known to be wrong.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    Well, if both are doomed, it’s a question on which terrain the greatest advance can be made, and where there is the best chance of a breakthrough. I think it’s in the Democratic party, for reasons stated. I also think that Clinton is a far more fragile candidate than conventional wisdom would have us believe.

                    Personally, as long as people are cheering for single payer (for example) I think it’s a win. Whether Sanders wins or loses is of far less concern to me (which is not the same as saying I don’t follow the story with great interest).

                    1. wbgonne

                      I’m not sure I agree that the Democratic Party is the proper vehicle or that Sanders will meaningfully alter the power inside the party. I do agree that Clinton is a weak candidate who may well lose to the Republican (Bush, I imagine). But she is certainly strong enough to beat Sanders who will vanish like smoke, IMO, leaving not a mark on the neoliberal masters of the Democratic Party.

                      Like you, I’ll watch to see.

                    2. Nathan Tankus

                      I think Lambert’s causality is more complex. Hillary will lose support and drop out in this vision. Once that happens an appointed apparatchik in the style if not in the power or “groomed from birth” attitude of Obama will come in and get sufficient support (and get Hillary’s delegates just like last time) that Sanders steps aside and endorses.

            2. Yves Smith

              Front runners with leads as commanding as Hllary’s or even more so have lost the nomination to candidates polling as low as Bernie did at the outset:



              1. Hillary’s negative ratings increase with exposure

              2.IMHO, HIllary looks mighty unhealthy. I say the odds are pretty good that she can’t hold up to the demands of the campaign. Bernie, who is older than she is, looks at ton better preserved and is more energetic.

                1. wbgonne

                  I see. Unfortunately, I see “economic violence” being supplanted by group-identity as the animating principle. I suspect that is no accident.

                  I think MLK was effectively if not officially a socialist. Today’s Black Misleadership Class, craven neoliberal bloodsuckers, would dispatch MLK themselves should he or someone like him appear today.

                  Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
                  A hard-working man and brave
                  He said to the rich, “Give your money to the poor,”
                  But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave …

                  This song was written in New York City
                  Of rich man, preacher, and slave
                  If Jesus was to preach what He preached in Galilee,
                  They would lay poor Jesus in His grave.

                  — Woody Guthrie

      2. OIFVet

        And then one might ask why these black people are harassing Sanders, who can do nothing, rather than Obama and his black attorneys general

        Because they are not paid to hold the powerful to account, particularly the one who happens to be the first half-black president. They are paid to destroy any remote challenge to the status quo from which those vocal folks so handsomely profit. #AllLivesMatter.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Yes, it would be best not to hold our breaths waiting for a Clinton event to be interrupted, but if the net roots nation event was a plant, Hillary might have opened up a can of worms because she and most democrats are running on nostalgia for better times and fear.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, that they were paid is a hypothesis; we don’t know that. For myself, I’d look to the (pro-Clinton) NN organizers (Kossacks, I think) to have opened the door for the activists, rather than the activists themselves.

          As for #AllLivesMatter, I don’t buy that message, or rather, buy into it only in the abstract. Note that it started as a reaction to #BlackLivesMatter, after all (and not from the most savory sources). It’s rather like going to a funeral of somebody who died of cancer, standing up, and shouting “I too have suffered!” Quite possibly true, but rather impolitic.

          * * *

          Dayen on the twitter:

          Activist time moved faster then electoral politics time.

          1. OIFVet

            It seems to me that the loudest groups are quite often the best funded. Seems very strange that Sanders was picked on when social and economic justice are so closely intertwined. Not to mention the exceedingly lousy job Obama has done for blacks, but we don’t see any black groups picketing the white house and the injustice department. All we have is the lonely voices at BAR and West, and then we have Sharpton’s pledge of undying loyalty and refusal to criticise the Barry over even the most trivial matter. Also too, Hillary was absent. Call me cynical but I find it hard to believe in fortuitous coincidences.

            As for #AllLivesMatter, to me it is also about the abstract. And there is no better way to make them all matter than economic justice. Just my opinion.

            1. Nathan Tankus

              #allLivesmatter is awful and retrograde because our society altready believes that all lives matter. It just defines certain lives (such as the lives of Woman, Black and Hispanic people, Trans people etc) as not included in “all lives” (or at least less included).For example the infamous 3/5th of a person when counting for white people’s votes has had an enormous political consequences and impacted our historical memory in ways people don’t really understand . The slogan black lives matters is specific and confronts our social antipathy towards black people directly.

              1. Gio Bruno

                Am I mistaken in believing that the 3/5th’s vote concept (Slaves are worth 3/5th’s representation) were not to denigrate the slaves (couldn’t go any lower), but to provide greater proportional representation for South in the national congress?

                1. Nathan Tankus

                  That’s my point. it wasn’t originally to denigrate black people but was co-opted later. It shows up in later popular accounts- I even think it appears in Birth of a Nation but I’d need to rewatch to confirm.

              2. Tom Allen

                From news reports, it looks like people really got angry when O’Malley said, in typical #AllLivesMatter equivocation, “All of us as Americans have a responsibility to recognise the pain and the grief throughout our country for all of the lives that have been lost to violence, whether at the hands of police or civilians….Every life matters and that is why this issue is important. Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.””

                This comes from a former mayor of Baltimore who pushed the aggressive, racist police tactics that resulted in the death of Freddie Gray. It’s neither the first time nor will it be the last that O’Malley will face anger because of that — particularly since neither Democrats nor Republicans are providing any voice to victims of police violence.

                  1. OIFVet

                    Who could have thought that “all” is subject to competing and conflicting definitions. To me, all has always meant every single one, regardless of color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. Using this definition of “all”, it is clear that all lives do not matter in our society. If they did, we wouldn’t have Obamacare but universal health care, we would not have militarized police violence on minorities, etc, and society as a whole would be out laying sieges to city halls, state houses, and federal institutions. It does not.

                    1. Nathan Tankus

                      You can tell how “all” is defined by looking at the way politicians use the term all. They clearly mean a different set of people than we would think of. Look at press coverage (especially press coverage before this became contested in the public sphere).

                    2. OIFVet

                      Politicians will always debate what the definition of “is” is. It’s on us not to let them usurp Webster’s definition.

                    3. optimader

                      Using this definition of “all”, it is clear that all lives do not matter in our society.
                      Demonstrably. No our Society does not uniformly accept that all lives matter, But it’s a distinction w/o a difference unless you can provide a list of ANY society present or historical where ALL lives matter(ed).

                      More generally, I cant think of any society that demonstrates a uniform ethical or philosophical premise for which the word “all” applies, particularly this notion of all lives mattering.
                      The intended consequence is to render the object of “all” to platitude status.

                      All is a btch of a constraint when Venn diagraming social behavior

                    4. OIFVet

                      The intended consequence is to render the object of “all” to platitude status

                      No doubt that’s what some intend. But not me. Regardless whether there is any society where all lives matter (there aren’t ), I still don’t understand what is so damn wrong about insisting that all lives do in fact matter, as opposed to separating ourselves in any number of groups. As far as I’m concerned, all this does is to create and deepen divisions, which in the end empowers the very forces for whom all lives do not matter.

                    5. Jeff W

                      It’s not about the definition of the word “all.” (And it doesn’t have to do with the “literal interpretation of the words”—it’s neither about the literal interpretation of the words nor not about that—it’s simply not at the level of the words.)

                      It’s an issue of conversational pragmatics, not semantics. As an analogy, it’s like saying “All planets are round” in rejoinder to the statement “The Earth is round.” The rejoinder is treating the initial statement as if it is saying something that it is not (e.g., the other planets are not round) and is a way of delegitimating the initial statement.

                      There is more to it than that even linguistically in the actual “Black lives matter”/“All lives matter” issue. To employ the analogy, there may be a reason why the Earth is singled out for an assertion of its roundness but that singling out does not have to do with the idea of how the Earth is more “deserving” of the ascription of roundness but rather with how the Earth is somehow treated as less round.

                      These pragmatics issues are hard to detect and even harder to unravel which is one reason why they are so effective (and, in some cases like this one, so pernicious).

            2. Brindle

              With Hillary’s mountainous horde of money to use for the campaign, having a sophisticated “off the shelf” unit w/ plausible deniability for dirty tricks is not beyond reason—my tinfoil comment for the day.

            3. Lambert Strether Post author

              I agree with the principle, but please trust me on this: #AllLivesMatter will not help you push it. It’s already been badly co-opted. Same crowd tweeting #BlueLivesMatter (as in blue uniforms). W-a-a-y too much baggage.

              1. OIFVet

                I trust you Lambert, I can say that I haven’t been led astray by NC, yet. So fine, screw the hashtag. It’s a pity how the scum can appropriate what is true, that every single life does matter, and use it toward making sure that some lives do not matter. That being said, I continue to view what happened in Phoenix as a political hatchet job on behalf of Hillary. Unless #BlackLivesMatter pulls off the same stunt on her too. Until then, they have lost all credibility with me.

                1. Nathan Tankus

                  let’s be careful with “they”. a lot of people use the slogan “Black Lives Matter”. This can be a Hillary plant or even Hillary manipulating certain activists without being the entirety of the groups who use the slogan “Black Lives Matter”

                  1. allan

                    The ruckus has totally overshadowed the powerful call for an end to the revolving door that Elizabeth Warren made just a couple of days ago. Whether or not that was intentional, who knows.

                  2. OIFVet

                    If such is the case, I would fully expect #BlackLivesMatter to publicly denounce the hijacking of its good name in the name of political hatchet job. It was distasteful where Sanders was concerned. O’Malley has had an executive job and it’s quite clear that he is a tool for the status quo, but what did Sanders ever do to earn this?

                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  I’m not so sure. There’s not a unified #BlackLivesMatter organization. The Phoenix incident as a hatchet job (I think, more likely to be NN plus a media follow-on) is one thing; I need to go read Dayen’s interviews to know better. But there are plenty of autonomous actions going on. Not to say that it all couldn’t be co-opted by people who are experts at that sort of thing! The intersection of activism and electoral politics is very messy and awkward.

    2. DJG

      There is a rather snippy essay by Rebecca Solnit going around telling the left to shut up because it complains too much. I’m no fan of the essay, yet BLM and the “undocumented ” movement at this event engaged in three self-destructive behaviors, and I’ll give credit to Solnit for her recognition of the symptoms:

      –Attempting to shut down their best interlocutors. Is it that they have found Sanders and O’Malley to be less interested in their concerns than Scott Walker or Donald Trump is? And the forced definition of a “we” not wanting to be interrupted is vague and nonproductive.
      –Policy, policy, policy, as Lambert would say. What is the political solution? What laws should be passed? It appears that some people in BLM and the “undocumented” movement have confused celebrity for writing bills with a chance of passage. This stance–that celebrity is of value–will not end well, as we see in the Republican Party and may even be seeing in the Clinton campaign (as people admit to being tired of her).
      –“Inclusive” language that alienates. There is a sense that all one has to do is change the language or discourse. Not being interrupted. Document the “undocumented,” as if citizenship were a set of papers rather than a procedure one has to go through (whatever anyone may think of said procedure). At this rate, Black Lives Matter and immigrantion activitists are soon going to be trotting out “hope” and “change” and “defeat the patriarchy”–and we know what happens when we live on slogans.

      1. Ed

        Are you sure that your are not reading too much into this? This are paid Clinton campaign operatives posing as hippies, not actual hippies or “the Left”.

        1. jrs

          Well if it’s still the same old essay from 2012, how is that working out for you Rebecca Solnit? We even got Fast Track! Because we bravely held our noses and voted for Obama. Well I sure as heck didn’t. I can sleep at night. Can Rebecca Solnit?

      2. Oregoncharles

        Yes, I know that Solnit article. It may be her low point. It earned her undying enmity over at Common Dreams, because it was pretty blatantly dishonest.

        It was written at the height of the 2012 campaign, and after about half an article of her complaining about other people complaining (pot, kettle), it turns out she REALLY wanted us to stop complaining about Obama.

        That’s right: it was a disguised political puff piece.

        Solnit is not the most honest author in the world.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Which is really sad. I like her book on the San Francisco fire a lot. But that article… Ugh. Classic Dem loyalist material. Wear the Jersey or STFU.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’ll wait for a #BlackLivesMatter protest at a Clinton event. If (a) there isn’t one or (b) Clinton has had time to prepare a script, well …

    4. jrs

      Yes Sanders should give more credit to Obama, because there’s nothing like bragging about an extremely unpopular man (Obama) all the way until you lose the election. Afterall Obama has been nothing but poison to the entire Democratic party, so yea I think a good strategy would be for Sanders to swallow that poison, I’m sure it will help him somehow.

      I’m also quite amazed that the current crop of Republicans don’t give enough credit to George W. Bush, I really think they should run on that. Aren’t they proud of W? That’s a winning strategy!

  6. John Zelnicker

    The glass sculptures of viruses at The Verge are fantastic. Who knew that nasty bugs could be so beautifully represented.

      1. John Zelnicker

        Yes, they are; although somewhat less so from ground level here on the Gulf Coast.

        1. ambrit

          Hear, hear. The phrase, “terrible beauty” comes to mind. Hurricanes as viewed from inside the attic of a flooded house partake of the sublimity of the majesty and power of nature.
          This is exactly like the occurrences of interest to this blog; Greece’s travail, Ukraine’s chastisement, the general descent into madness of neo-liberalism, etc. The view from above is categorically different from the experience on the ground.

    1. Chris in Paris

      All are dangerous but for the phage, which is actually a virus of microbes and can be very useful in curing some diseases. I think he just found it cool looking.

    2. micky9finger

      I didn’t think maleria was a virus.
      Isn’t it a parasite of a larger scale, not even a bacteria.
      I guess I should look it up.

  7. flora

    Esquire article: important read. Pierce mentions Wisconsin. Kansas has a gov and legislature that act like wholly owned subsidiaries of organized wealth. It’s a disaster for the state budget.

  8. Jim Haygood

    An NYT article titled “Hipaa’s Use as Code of Silence Often Misinterprets the Law” basically preaches at silly little lay people that they are overreacting and misinterpreting it. Hilariously, the NYT was obliged to issue a correction at the bottom of the article, indicating that their stenographer too had failed to interpret the law correctly.

    In fact, individuals can opt out of signing the useless paperwork mandated by Senators Kennedy and Kassebaum, who sponsored this legislation in 1996:

    The least we can do to honor Senator Kennedy’s memory is to refuse compliance with ‘Teddy’s Law,’ and educate others to do the same.

    1. Yves Smith

      I hate to tell you, but I am pretty sure my doctor’s practice would refuse to treat me if I did not sign the form. I don’t see anything protecting you from doctor retaliation. Their position is: “We don’t have to take patients who don’t comply with the procedures of our office.” It’s just about impossible for doctors to operate solo and one of mine is an a practice with really terrible admin staff, bureaucratic and abusive.

      1. Oregoncharles

        A tangent, but on the theme of “admin staff are really imortant”: I actually changed doctors because the front desk was badly understaffed. There was a screwup with the lab (the other reason), and I couldn’t even get through on the phone to cancel the appointment.

        So I switched to another clinic, which answered their phone. The lab is better, too. No problem with the doctor himself. The odd thing is, the first clinic is actually run by the local hospital, so they had resources.

        1. ambrit

          Find out how, and how much, this hospital pays it’s top level management. That’ll tell you what the organizations priorities are.

  9. diptherio

    From the Maine Minimum Wage article:

    The error was immediately flagged by the restaurant lobby, whose members say they tried to warn Portland’s council members before the vote that the ordinance didn’t say what they apparently thought it did. “It’s very confusing,” says Greg Dugal, chief executive officer of the Maine Restaurant Association. “For somebody that doesn’t even know that a tipped person makes less of a wage than a regular employee, they’re confused right out of the gate, because that doesn’t make any sense to them.”

    It doesn’t make any sense to them because it doesn’t make any sense period. And shouldn’t we stop calling what non-tipped employees are required to make the “minimum wage,” since for tipped employees there is nothing “minimum” about it. Let’s have a little honesty for once, people–ONLY tipped restaurant employees make the actual minimum wage, and it’s less than $4/hour. The only logic here is that it’s easy to screw over restaurant staff, so the Restaurant Assoc. has done just that.

    And now the Maine lawmakers get to show how cold-hearted they actually are, when they all sign off on REDUCING the minimum wage for usually-tipped employees. Oh, don’t worry though, I’m sure that after getting off her/his shift at 11 pm, the average server divides their tips by their hours, figures out what their real hourly was, and then charges the boss for any hours where tips didn’t make up for their unbelievably sh*tty wage….riiiiight. I’ve worked in the industry a bit and NEVER once saw that happen anywhere I worked (not that it doesn’t happen somewhere) What the Maine councilmembers are getting ready to do is sign off on making wage-theft super easy for restaurateurs. Hope they are proud of themselves, the a-holes.

    1. todde

      The payroll dept will adjust wages to minimum wage level.

      How do I know? Because I review restaurants payroll.

      Do companies cheat? Absolutely, but that usually involves money paid under the table and oddly enough the lack of compliance comes from smaller businesses and not the bigger corps.

    2. sd

      Traveling in a foreign country, the waitress informed me, “We don’t accept tips. We earn a living wage here.” It was clear from her tone that she viewed tipping as an insult.

    3. Carla

      “ONLY tipped restaurant employees make the actual minimum wage, and it’s less than $4/hour.”

      Diptherio, I’m sorry. I don’t understand that sentence. Can you clarify?

      1. todde

        Tipped employees have a lower minimum wage than other employees by law.

        There are two tiers to the minimum wage law

        1. Carla

          Okay, I get it. Thanks!

          P.S. Isn’t there also a lower tier for certain agricultural workers at least in some states? I think there used to be in Ohio, but am not sure if it still exists, nor do I know if it’s the same as for tipped workers or not. Disgusting. It’s like trying to decipher the different levels of slavery.

  10. DJG

    The article in FT about lunching with Grillo has the single advantage that the FT at least isn’t presenting Italian politicians as raving lunatics. (The DJG rule: The Anglophone world prefers their Romans and Greeks dead because the modern ones are too “excitable.”)

    Yet Grillo isn’t as benign as the article presents him. The Movimento Cinque Stelle has a rather progressive platform, but under Grillo’s leadership, and there is no doubt that he is the leader, they refused to go into coalition with the PD, thereby bringing down Bersani, who was someone they might have worked with. (Unfortunately, Bersani had a brain hemorrhage, which in the end has led to Renzi.)

    The internal rules of the parliamentary delegation were unworkable. Several members have been expelled for questioning policy. And then there are the famous blog postings by Grillo–intemperate, to say the least.

    So Grillo may seem like a highly intelligent and objective outsider, which he is. Yet when it came time to make decisions about governing, M5S failed.

  11. MikeNY

    On causes of the Civil War.

    So “States Rights” is the cloak in which hatred and bigotry disguises itself. Same “principled” argument I hear in opposition to the Obergefell v. Ohio decision. That’s regrettable and sad, because there are good and legitimate arguments to make in opposition to Federal Government overreach; the defense of racism and homophobia is not one of them.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Without the Civil War, in what way would we resemble the partially-sovereign states of the European Union?

      The other question is whether we attempted the British solution* to abolishing slavery – i.e. by paying off the slave owners (in part funded by the slaves themselves)?

      *In a link recently.

      1. MikeNY

        Is your point that the Civil War brought about deeper political and fiscal union, and thus durable monetary union? That is perhaps correct.

        My point was different: that states cannot be allowed to violate the fundamental rights and dignity of their citizens. States cannot now be allowed to decide for themselves if slavery is permissible, or interracial marriage, or marriage equality. There has been progress in moral thinking on these questions, and it’s not longer licit to leave such decisions to individual states.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Per several of my law school professors, in subjects from contracts to torts to constitutional law to criminal law and procedure to commercial paper to “sales:” “There is no right in the absence of a remedy.”

          What enforceable, observable rights do “citizens” in the Imperium have, any more?

        2. hunkerdown

          There are no such things as fundamental rights, unfortunately. It’s all just people talking their masters’ books.

          No bourgeoisie anywhere are competent, qualified, or welcome to manage anyone else’s affairs, and they clearly fail at managing their own without the “on-demand” economy. Why are pretty gasbags a net win to society again, especially at their price?

          1. MikeNY

            I can’t agree with your first sentence. It would take us way, way far afield, but I think there is a basis for fundamental rights in the human intuition of equality or brotherhood. I do agree that our clarity on moral thinking changes or evolves over time; but at its best, I believe it indeed “bends toward justice”.

    2. LifelongLib

      Well, on some issues (marriage equality until recently, marijuana legalization now) some states were/are ahead of the federal government. The identification of states rights with slavery may in part be a historical accident. Certainly after the American Revolution, one of the drivers for drafting the Constitution was the fear by some of the Founders that state governments (e.g. Pennsylvania) were vulnerable to takeover by “radical democrats”. Indeed, Alexander Hamilton wanted to get rid of states altogether.

      1. MikeNY

        Yes — I believe in all cases I cited many states led the Federal Government / Supreme Court. It’s the interesting phenomenon of an evolving or changing moral consensus — I call it progress because I believe it most certainly was an improvement in moral standards, in all three cases.

      2. vidimi

        this makes sense. if we take the US for what it is, a confederation of 50 states, the federal level will be, more or less, the average of the 50. that is, some will be more progressive while others will be more regressive. this would imply that, to move the whole country to the left, it might be best to focus on specific issues and target them in individual states, prioritising those where a victory is achievable.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US productivity

    Previously,10 workers were needed to produce X units.

    Now, 5 workers plus 3 robots are needed to produce X units.

    Is the productivity gain [(X/5) – (X/10)], or [{X/(5+3)} – (X/10)]?

    1. optimader

      How many steelworkers, millwrights, joint oilers and fuel shovelers to keep the robots running?

        1. optimader

          I think the rqd synthetic sentient software/hardware along with the power source to run it remain firmly somewhere over the rainbow.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Yah, let us hope so. Meantime, smart people are resurrecting the 1917 influenza virus “because they could.” Et cetera.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Greek islands for sale.

    Question – how many new islands form, on average, annually in the world?

    Can anyone claim ownership or sovereignty over those new islands in international waters? Do they belong to the UN* (won’t those not in the UN object)?

    *Has any country left the United Nations? Did it spell the end of the UN project?

    1. optimader

      Not many, if any, islands that are not subject to pre-existing Sovereigns claims, so the fantasy of “ownership” is not so much the reality. This is the sensational sideshow, the real injustice is the selling of public infrastructure, ports, utilities ect.

      In the case of these islands , all the best luck to the Greeks successfully selling them to wealthy tenant/patrons. The Greeks can use the ongoing income streams from those that expect to do anything approximating inhabitation. I’d expect that once the whole cost is penciled out, the reality of the deals won’t quite align with the fantasy of the prospective buyers and their wincing wealth managers.. Uninhabited for centuries? Presumably for good reasons. as is the general case.

    2. optimader

      Not many, if any, islands are not subject to some pre-existing Sovereigns claims, so the fantasy of “ownership” is not so much the reality. This is the sensational sideshow, the real injustice is the selling of public infrastructure, ports, utilities ect.

    3. optimader

      In the case of these islands, all the best luck to the Greeks successfully selling them to wealthy tenant/patrons. The Greeks can use the ongoing income streams from those that expect to do anything approximating inhabitation.
      I expect that once the whole cost is penciled out, the reality of the deals won’t quite align with the fantasy of the prospective buyers and their wincing wealth managers.. Uninhabited for centuries? Presumably for good reasons. as is the general case for most islands.

    1. OIFVet

      So miss Yeats wants the candidates to talk about gentrification, among other things. By all means, lets. I know I have beaten the drum on gentrification here, possibly to the point of repeating myself. Last I checked Sanders did not decide to drop the Barry O presidential lie-berry on public parkland next to a depressed black neighborhood. Sanders did not advise nor serve as the RE agent to UChicago, which snapped up almost all the choice parcels next to the site YEARS before the site’s selection was announced. You think UChicago is friends to black people, miss Yeats? I suggest that you google urban renewal in the 1960’s and the university’s role in it. Google about The Woodlawn Organisation and tell me why many blacks don’t trust the university half a century later. Then tell me about how the Barry O/UChicago partnership will not gentrify the heck out of the black neighborhood and push poor black people out.

      Barry O and UChicago too high up the sky to reach? Tell me about Valerie Jarrett’s years as a slumlord to poor blacks, making millions off them through Section 8 while they inhabited Grove Park, which was ultimately condemned as unfit for human habitation. She is Barry O’s BFF so might be still too well placed to become the recipient of your righteous fury. So try mine and Barry O’s alderman, the dishonorable William Burns. Also representing a large portion of rapidly gentrifying, historically black Bronzeville, and residing in the UChicago Developement Office’s deep pocketbook. What say you miss Yeats, you gonna go picket the White House, UChicago, and Burns’ office? Many black and white people from mine and the surrounding neighborhoods have picketed UChicago and been arrested over it. You, you picked on Sanders. I am not aware of any ties between him and gentryfiers…

  14. susan the other

    Hoexster’s 2nd in his Climate Defeatism series (3) is much better reading than his first. He singles out Rex Tillerson, who is, singularly, the creepiest CEO in the history of capitalism. And other attitudes.

  15. ─• ─••

    The G-192 has a dog-whistle for international solidarity for Greece in the right to development. It’s inaudible to those indoctrinated in the Bretton Woods line but it attacks both ‘neoliberal’ economic coercion and militarism.

    Greece is the perfect poster child. Having “got the hook in them,” as Perkins would put it, with unsustainable debt, regional powers then yank it to make the peon state go further into hock for arms. This NGO quotes a Papandreou (!) aide, “No one is saying ‘Buy our warships or we won’t bail you out.’ But the clear implication is that they will be more supportive if we do”

    Increasingly as the Western regime of central planning by banks gets discredited we’ll be hearing TINA TINA TINA TINA. The right to development is the outside world’s rebuttal.

  16. JTMcPhee

    Who says the European Project has failed?

    “Germany’s wealth distribution most unequal in euro zone: study” — And yes, that is about WEALTH, which is not exactly the same as INCOME, of course…

    Not to pick on Germany, that would be Ungerecht: “Income inequality in the EU,” (2012 paper), And this, for Scandophiles: “Wealth inequality in Europe and the delusive egalitarianism of Scandinavian countries,” (2011 paper)

    Oh, the travails of the super-wealthy —

  17. ewmayer

    o Los Angeles airport to become largest air hub with ride-sharing pickups | Reuters

    Seems to me that the most important sentence of this piece is the last one, and its potential implications.

    o Oklahoma top court OKs grand jury probe of Tulsa sheriff’s office | Reuters

    Ah yes, the old ‘I confused my taser for my gun even though those are pulled from different belt pouches and look, feel and weigh very different’ ploy.

    o California freeway opens after wildfire scorches 20 vehicles | USA Today

    As so often is the case, the best part comes at the end, which gnat-like-attention-span mobile users are least likely to reach before jumping to the next distraction alert: ‘Five drones flying over the area forced fire officials to temporarily ground air tankers, according to news reports. It was the third time recently that remote-controlled aircraft had interfered with firefighting in California.’ It does not require much imagination to foresee swarms of drones descending like plague locusts on accident scenes becoming a near-ubiquitous occurrence within the next few years. O brave new world, that has such techno-gawking morons in it.

  18. Alinvalhalla

    Schäuble: What is essential is that rules are followed and enforced.

    Unless you’re regulating a TBTF?

  19. ewmayer

    Re. Whole Foods: To be fair, “Mackie the Knife” does specifically say “Conscious Capitalism”, as opposed to “Conscientious Capitalism”.

    1. jrs

      If you have some kind of co-op option then patronize that. Otherwise one way or other your going to deal with morally compromised and it’s just a matter of degree. Of course Trader Joe may be less compromised, I haven’t heard of any prison labor, I’ve merely heard they won’t hire anyone at 30 hours a week or more anymore since Obamacare.

      Worker co-ops are of course ideal, but many consumer co-ops are still much better than non co-ops. The people who read Mackie’s book … wait did anyone? Well probably b-school types who have also read Sam Walton’s book.

  20. craazyman

    The Tragedy of the Comments

    Dear Sirs and Ma’ams,

    I knew when they shut comments down the commen good would be impaired. As a thought police patrol officer commttted to public intellectual safety, My primary concern was for the well being of Post Authors, whose logical lapses and risible rhetoric could be restrained — if only after the fact — by gently phrased Peanut Gallery reprobations that slip the darting grasp of the DELETE-IT Alogrithm (Drivel Entirely Lacking Edifyingly Thoughtful Elucidation – It’s Toast!) and luminate the Truth of the Matter.

    Sometimes the mistakes occur in the Post but sometimes they occur in the Introduuction. Today, in the post about.The Failed Project of Europe, there was an error in the INtrodcution, it was innocuous to be sure and I’m not criticising, simply offering factuual correction.

    There are not in fact 19^2 bilaterial relations between 19 countries. A 19 by 19 matrix so constructed would be symmetrical around it’s diagonal. There are n(n-1)/2 bilateral relations, since the n^2 total counts the total pairings — thus double counting all of them and also counting the pairings of each with itself..

    Consider a 6 x 6 matrix of Categories A through F for example. Row 1, Column 2 has the same pairing (AB) as Row 2, column 1 (BA). Moreover, row 3, column 3 has the same entry (CC) counted twice. As does row 4, column 4 (DD), etcc — in fact that’s the diagnonal.

    The total pairings is the total elements (6-squared or 36) minus the diagonal (6) = 30 divided by 2 to avoide dubble couunting = 15 total pairs.

    That of course is n(n-1)/2 = 15 when n = 6.

    As for the total number of relations, that requires somewhat more specificity before it can be mathematically modeled. But it likely will involve the subtle use of factorials, combinations and permutations, rather than the extreme muscularity of exponential magnification.

    What a shame. The tragedy of the comments is a pestilent darkness upon mind light. This is what happens when people can’t restrain the urge to turn the peanut gallery into a mental whorehouse. A civilized man is aghast at the spectacle and the tragedy that results, the tragedy is the wanton destruction of the posssibility for ascension of knowledge through worthy minds

    yours trulie,

    Officer Lootenint D. Tremens
    Magonia Thought Police.
    Community Relations Division
    Precinct 0

    1. optimader

      you only need to watch a few minutes of Game Of Thrones to understand the dilemma is far more complex than just bilateral relations, it’s the coalitions –who is beholden to who, each combination catalyzing a unique outcome.
      Consequently all permutations of 19 entities would better capture the situation, no? 19! or (19*18*17*16…..)

    2. Kukulkan

      There are n(n-1)/2 bilateral relations, since the n^2 total counts the total pairings — thus double counting all of them and also counting the pairings of each with itself.

      This depends on whether the relationships are commutative or not. That is, if /France relationship Austria/ is the same as /Austria relationship France/. If you see these two statements as saying the same thing — that is, they are both talking about the relationship between the two parties — then you’re right and the simple calculation is double counting. However, if you see the two as different — that is, the ideas, assumptions, expectations, etc that France has about its relationship with Austria are different to the ideas, assumptions, expectations, etc Austria has about its relationship with France — then it’s not double counting, since these can be treated as different relationships. I guess it depends on how you define “relationship”, as a thing that exists between two parties (in which case, it’s commutative) or as a property possessed by a party relative to an aspect of its environment (in which case, it’s not commutative).

      You’re right about the simple calculation also counting each party’s relationship with itself, which would be invalid under either definition.

      This is pretty basic math. However, as I’ve learned in the years since 2008, pointing out basic math in discussions of finance and/or economics is futile. As Yanis Varoufakis discovered:

      It’s not that it didn’t go down well – it’s that there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. … You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on – to make sure it’s logically coherent – and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I tend to think that France -> Austria is not the same as France <- Austria. One example would be that relations that involved power or information asymmetries are not commutative. Yes? However, I am only weakly convinced.

      2. optimader

        f /France relationship Austria/ is the same as /Austria relationship France
        In reality it isn’t. Neither is Austria/Germany relationship with France the same as France/Austria relationship with Germany or France /Austria/Germany relationship with Spain…….. and that’s if you only consider the EU countries relationships as a closed loop. It isn’t.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      To all three commenters, I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I welcome the discussion. I’ll have a post up in the very near future, and analysis like this bears on it. Since math isn’t my strong point….

      NOTE However, no matter how the matrix is constructed, I stand by the claim that it is not useful to view the European union as a marriage; this discussion, if anything, reinforces it.

      1. ambrit

        “…it is not useful to view the European union as a marriage…”
        Correct as far as it goes, but still a useful metaphor if one were to consider the European Union as a plural marriage.
        The dynamics of relationships may be quantifiable, but not on so basic a level.

    1. nobody

      And Slothrop is yawning “What time is it?” and Darlene is swimming up from sleep. When, with no warning, the room is full of noon, blinding white, every hair flowing up from her nape clear as day, as the concussion drives in on them, rattling the building to its poor bones, beating in the windowshade, gone all to white and black lattice of mourning-cards. Overhead, catching up, the rocket’s rush comes swelling, elevated express down, away into ringing silence. Outside glass has been breaking, long, dissonant cymbals up the street. The floor has twitched like a shaken carpet, and the bed with it. Slothrop’s penis has sprung erect, aching. To Darlene, suddenly awake, heart pounding very fast, palms and fingers in fear’s pain, this hardon has seemed reasonably part of the white light, the loud blast. By the time the explosion has died to red strong flickering on the shade, she’s begun to wonder . . . about the two together . . . but they’re fucking now, and what does it matter, but God’s sake why shouldn’t this stupid Blitz be good for something?

    2. ambrit

      My Dad lived in London as a preteen and teen during the blitz, and the rocket barrage. He would recount the first time a V-2 hit in his neighbourhood. “It was the most terrifying thing I ever experienced. A block of flats about five or six blocks away disappeared in a single huge blast. Half a minute later, we heard the rocket come in. It was supersonic, so the bomb itself killed you before you could hear it fall. The doodlebugs you could hear. When their engines stopped, take cover. If you could hear the engine stop, you were within it’s range. Bombing was just bombing. We would sit up on the roof watching the bombers cris-crossing the searchlight beams. We were kids, it was almost fun to watch, until the time the incendiary bomb came through the roof and set my bedroom alight. V-2s now, they were real terror weapons.”
      For sex mad Brits before the Blitz, try finding a copy of Grove Presses reissue of the complete “The Pearl Magazine.”

  21. ambrit

    Dude, try a copy of “Against the Day.” If it’s those Doors of Perception you’re worried about, well, “Inherent Vice” would be more apropos.

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