2:00PM Water Cooler 9/1/15

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, in the server hoopla today, WordPress informs me that Water Cooler “Missed Schedule,” and I was on the road. Here it is. –Lambert


The Voters

Quinnipiac: “A total of 71 percent of American voters are “dissatisfied” with the way things are going in the nation today, including 41 percent who are “very dissatisfied,” according to a Quinnipiac University National poll released today. Only 2 percent are “very satisfied,” with 26 percent “somewhat satisfied” [Quinnipiac].

“But what really fuels the turbulent nature of early primaries is the fact that the majority of Americans are simply not yet paying any attention to the race. When only the hardest of the hard-core partisans are engaged, political actors outside of the mainstream can easily grab the spotlight. They face far less sophisticated challengers than they will later in the campaign” [Daily Dot].

Iowa Republicans: “Combine Trump, Carson and Fiorina — three candidates who have never been elected to any public office — and their support accounts for 46 percent of the vote” [Des Moines Register]. “Part of what’s driving their ballot share is a ‘mad as hell’ contingent. They’re not just mad at Democrats: Three-fourths are frustrated with Republicans in Congress, with 54 percent unsatisfied and 21 percent mad as hell.” Not The Onion!

“[I]f you are seeking precedents for this cycle, [1968]’s momentous presidential election is a good place to look.” [Wall Street Journal, “Sanders, Trump et al: Partying Like It’s 1968”].

“During the last three presidential cycles (2004, 2008, 2012), the winners of August didn’t go on to capture the presidential nomination” [NBC News].


Headline: “Campaign Says Scott Walker Not Advocating Canada Border Wall” [Wall Street Journal]. Snicker. That’s the sort of headline a campaign never likes to see…

Sanders: “I have, as I understand it, a lifetime voting record from the NRA of D-minus” [Alternet]. I’d prefer F….

“Though Biden has reportedly sought her favor, Warren has historically disdained, charging him with acting as a tool of the credit card industry by limiting debt relief for people grappling with financial troubles” [International Business Times]. And Warren is right. “As a Harvard law professor in 2002, Warren published a journal article excoriating Biden for playing a leading role in delivering legislation that made it more difficult for Americans to reduce debts through bankruptcy filings.”

The Trail

O’Malley press release on the Democratic debates: “The first section presses his case against the ‘unprecedented,’ ‘rigged process’ for allowing only six presidential candidate debates. O’Malley noted that just four debates are scheduled before the early caucuses and primaries, and ‘the New Hampshire debate is cynically wedged into the high point of the holiday shopping season so as few people watch it as possible’ [Bleeding Heartland]. Why don’t Sanders, O’Malley, and Chaffee ask the League of Women Voters to sponsor some Presidential debates again, and then ask Clinton and Biden to join the fun? This is shamelessly corrupt and manipulative, even by DNC standards.

Pat Kennedy as Clinton fixer of last resort [The Ghost of Tom Joad].

“[T]he new doc­u­ments [in the latest Clinton email dump] show that the power­ful suf­fer from the same an­noy­ances and con­fu­sion as every­one else” [National Journal]. Human, all too human…

“Amid the continuing toll of his son Beau’s untimely death, hurling himself into a campaign promises more trouble and hurt. But saying ‘no’ would entail its own grieving process, as the lifelong pol closed the door for good on his political career, without having achieved his life’s goal” [The Atlantic]. Oh puh-leeze.

Trump releases video (not a TV ad, mind you): “In the video, Bush is shown saying in a 2014 interview that illegal immigration is ‘not a felony’ but rather an ‘act of love'” [AP]. “The Trump campaign’s short video, posted on Instagram, concludes with block letters on a black screen saying: ‘Forget love. It’s time to get tough.'” Ouch.

“Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. But he has filed four business bankruptcies, which Bankruptcy.com says makes Trump the top filer in recent decades. All of them were centered around casinos he used to own in Atlantic City. They were all Chapter 11 restructurings, which lets a company stay in business while shedding debt it owes to banks, employees and suppliers” [CNN]. Which students, the poor schlubs, can’t do…

“What’s happening with Trump in the polls is unusual by recent standards. No one who wasn’t leading earlier in the year has gained and sustained a lead for this long — at least since 2008, which isn’t a lot of data to work with” [WaPo].

“A small Mon­mouth Uni­versity poll Monday showed Car­son tied with Trump among likely Iowa caucus­go­ers, and his fa­vor­ab­il­ity has soared to 81 per­cent com­pared to Trump, who sits at 52 per­cent. A Bloomberg Polit­ics/Des Moines Re­gister poll showed a sim­il­ar trend over the week­end, with Car­son trail­ing Trump by just 5 points. It’s a sub­stan­tial rise for the neur­o­lo­gist, who was in third place in Iowa just weeks be­fore the first Re­pub­lic­an de­bate” [National Journal].

Stats Watch

Readers, I am traveling today, and so there will not be summaries of Motor Vehicle Sales, Gallup US ECI, PMI Manufacturing Index, or ISM Manufacturing Index, since I am hitting the road before they come out. Talk amongst yourselves!

“In the decade to 2010, a growing share of U.S. exports went to China, from less than 2% to more than 7%. Then the trend stalled. The share climbed again in 2014 and has since declined” [Wall Street Journal, “Warning Signs in U.S. Presaged China’s Stock-Market Plunge “]. “Goods produced in the U.S. that are popular with the Chinese middle class, such as almonds or California wines, weren’t posting the surging increases [Jock O’Connell, a trade adviser in California,] expected. Warning signals on the ground, however, weren’t easy to spot. The ports on the U.S. West Coast had been choked with congestion because of logistical tangles in the shipping industry and labor unrest. When those issues were resolved this spring, trade didn’t bounce back.”

“Citigroup plans to rebuild its long-neglected equities franchise seeking to capitalize on a retrenchment by rivals in the face of new rules designed to make the financial system less risky, according to people familiar with the bank’s plans” [Reuters].

Mr. Market

“Wang Xiaolu of Caijing magazine was seen asking for leniency on state broadcaster CCTV on Monday as he “confessed” to writing an “irresponsible” report about the government’s possible withdrawal of market saving funds last month” [Hong Kong Free Press].

“[M]arket moves need to be severe and long-lasting to make a real difference. The 1987 crash, for instance, saw stocks drop more than twenty-two per cent in a single day. Yet it had no measurable impact on corporate investment, and only a short-lived effect on consumer spending” [The New Yorker].

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Early Monday, a Black Lives Matter spokesperson sent a statement to reporters about the carefully worded DNC resolution: While the organization applauded ‘political change towards making the world safer’ for blacks in America, that the organization’s only endorsement ‘goes to the protest movement we’ve built together with Black people nationwide — not the self-interested candidates, parties, or political machine seeking our vote'” [Buzzfeed]. Headline: “Sources: Democrats Blindsided By #BlackLivesMatter Statement Knocking Resolution.” Why, the ingratitude. After all that Obama did… After all that Obama… After Obama…

Important article from Adolph Reed Jr*., Michael Francis, Steve Striffler: “What separates New Orleans from other cities is that the attack on public investment, and the promotion of an unregulated private sector, contributed to the greatest disaster in US history. Calls to fix the levees and invest in infrastructure prior to Katrina went unheeded, as did warnings from scientists that climate change would lead to larger storms, and that the destruction of Louisiana wetlands had weakened the region’s natural defenses. What was needed was precisely what powerful interests would not allow: adequate public investment in the levee system; state regulations to protect our wetlands; and a public commitment to housing, healthcare, education and the economy that would have left more of us prepared for a disaster in the first place” [Common Dreams]. “And yet, if Hurricane Katrina delivered a hard lesson about the consequences of gutting public investment, we certainly did not apply this wisdom to the recovery. Instead, we doubled down.” Making it all the more remarkable, or not, that on Katrina, DNC uber-insider and Obama apparatchik Donna Brazile says Bush “got it right.”

* The great Adolph Reed Jr., whose call on Obama was one of the earliest.

“Black man pulled over for making ‘direct eye contact’ with Ohio police officer [New York Daily News] “The two agree to ‘a conversation’ after controversy (WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE).” Don’t make eye contact, don’t ask for help, never, ever call 911…


“[California Public Employees’ Retirement System and California State Teachers’ Retirement System] joined the drive for Bank of America Corp. shareholders to oppose a corporate bylaw change that would let Brian Moynihan serve as both chief executive and chairman” [Wall Street Journal, “Calpers, Calstrs Want Bank of America to Separate Roles of Chairman, CEO”]. CalPERS needs to buff its halo a lot more than that.

“The city of Chicago has joined a lawsuit against Redflex, an Australian company that sold the city red light cameras starting in 2003” [Ars Technica]. “The suit alleges (PDF) that Redflex bribed a former Department of Transportation manager, John Bills, with $2 million in kickbacks to secure contracts with the city. The debacle has already resulted in corruption convictions, and the company’s CEO, Karen Finley, pleaded guilty to bribery earlier this year.” I really like the idea of Chicago suing somebody for corrupting them.

Dear Old Blighty

If you want to see an example of an entire press corps and most of the political class clutching their pearls and heading for the fainting couch, search on “Corbyn” in Google News. Astonishing. Here are some links that don’t seem utterly contaminated.

Corbyn at the Notting Hill carnival (pictures) [Metro]. I’m not seeing any fangs….

“In a fortnight’s time, if opinion polls and most other available evidence are to be believed, Jeremy Corbyn will be elected leader of the Labour party” [Guardian]. “Beyond that, however, Corbyn faces a huge organisational challenge when he has to assemble a coherent leadership team that can harness the unstructured popular movement that has formed around him, outside Westminster.” Read the whole article, which is reasonably non-screechy. Like Tsipras, Corbyn saw power lying in the street and picked it up; kudos! But how will Corbyn exercise power, if and when he wins the leadership contest?

“George Osborne has announced more than £500m of funding for the Royal Navy’s submarine base at Faslane [in Scotland], the home of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent” [Guardian]. “The chancellor said the move would create thousands of jobs, and claimed that a Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose a threat to national security by undermining the future of Trident.” I’m sure that using defense policy to intervene in a Labour leadership contest will greatly enhance Tory credibility on national security. And that’s what they’re doing when Corbyn is running. What will they do if he wins? Fire off a few missiles, Kim Jong-un-style?

“Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for describing Bin Laden’s death as a “tragedy” in the Sun, but what did the Labour leadership frontrunner really say?” [Spectator]. “This was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy. The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.” He also added that it was his preference that Osama Bin Laden be put on trial, a view shared by, among other people, Barack Obama and Boris Johnson.

“Former Lib Dem leader said the same thing as Jeremy Corbyn about Bin Laden’s killing” [Independent].

“The ranks of the East Devon’s Labour Party have swelled by almost 200 per cent in just ten days. And it is all down to the popularity of leadership candidate, Jeremy Corbyn, according to constituency secretary Ray Davison” [Exmouth Journal]. “Mr Davison added: “I would very much support the public ownership of the utilities and the railways and an end to NHS privatisation and I think that would be very popular indeed.”

“The collective memory in UK politics is lengthy, extending back over two generations and the best evidence for this is the rare incidence of radical change” [International Business Times]. “The reasons for this two generation gap could include risk aversion: the population as a whole could be much more risk averse than – to take the best parallel example – the financial markets, where the collective memory appears to be around seven years, which is the standard length of the boom to bust cycle.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Tampa Bay Times’ investigation is a model for how to report on school resegregation” [Columbia Journalism Review].

Police State

“Government officials in Amherst County, Virginia can now require employers to fire any ex-con” [WaPo].

“A former Union City police officer, twice cleared of shooting and killing an unarmed teen, is now under investigation once again, after another department fired him for lying” [WSB, Atlanta].

Imperial Collapse Watch

“Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS” [Daily Beast]. Oh no. You dinnint.

“[Autonomous Vehicles] are the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists” [Medium]. “A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it. A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself. How will law enforcement solve physical, violent crimes committed by people who were never at the scene of the crime?” Now there’s a happy thought!

Wretched Excess

“Then when my own kids were 8 and 10 I realized I was still cutting their meat” [NPR]. Somehow I don’t think poor kids have problems with overparenting.

Class Warfare

“Wal-Mart’s low-income shoppers are still struggling as the U.S. economy goes through a sluggish recovery, though lower gas prices are helping somewhat. The company also faces increasing competition from online king Amazon.com and from dollar stores, which are pulling in shoppers seeking low prices and convenience” [AP]. This is the greatest recovery ever. What’s wrong with AP?

“Large-scale social movements need ways to convey their ‘value’ and ‘meaning’ through images which reflect the scale and message of the event, to be distributed via social media platforms” [Asia Pacific]. Hence, the panoramic crowd shot from a drone high in the air. “As you can see, when done well, filling the image is the key, conveying a protest bursting at the seams; as is colour, showing a crowd united in the common cause. It perhaps gives some idea as to why the Malaysian government banned the Bersih yellow t-shirt.”

News of the Wired

Lifesaving scientists [Science Heroes]. Number one lifesaver: Fritz Haber (synthetic fertilizer). Hmm….

“Human error is behind many avalanche deaths” [Nature]. “[I]mproper camp placement in high-risk areas and lack of good avalanche forecasting explained about 75% of the deaths.”

“Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters” [Wired]. George R.R. Martin: “The reward for popularity is popularity! It’s truckloads of money! Do you need the trophy, too?”

“Companies are in no rush to untangle themselves from six decades of Cobol programming” [Telegraph].

BMW “is looking to go all-electric over the next 10 years due to the upcoming stricter carbon emission laws. Virtually every BMW model would be converted to electric drivetrains, including range-extending engines and plug-in hybrids” [NASDAQ].

“Carbon dating of a fragment from a Koran stored at a Birmingham library suggests that the book was produced between 568 and 645 A.D., said scientists at the University of Oxford, but Islamic scholars generally believe Muhammad lived between 570 and 632 A.D.” [Raw Story].

“Otaku have been fond of body pillows for quite some time, as printed pillowcases allow them to literally sleep with their favorite character. But Koichi is taking the craze a step further. His product, Itaspo, uses sophisticated sensors that – when touched – allow the pillow to talk” [Tech in Asia].

“Regardless of how complex our self feels to us – with its conceptual and autobiographical aspects – autoscopic phenomena are showing us that it all begins with the body” [BBC]. And that, my friends, is why concrete material benefits are important in politics. Or deprivations.

* * *

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:


Delphiniums, Coastal Maine Botantical Gardens.

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. This is turning into a tough month, and I need to keep my server up!


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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. Optimader

    “BMW “is looking to go all-electric over the next 10 years due to the upcoming stricter carbon emission laws. Virtually every BMW model would be converted to electric drivetrains, including range-extending engines and plug-in hybrids” [NASDAQ].”

    Range extending enginea and plug in hybrids is not exactly all-electric

    1. rusti

      Certainly scratched my head wondering how those vehicles with combustion engines could be classified as all-electric.

      I really like the idea of range-extending “series hybrids” in terms of overall resource efficiency. Rather than having a rich guy lugging around an absurd quantity of batteries that he barely discharges on his daily commute while his slightly-less-rich neighbor commutes entirely on gasoline or diesel, both of them could do their daily commutes on electric power and have range-extenders that allow them to take longer trips without “range anxiety”.

      Series hybrid architecture allows for more flexibility in terms of the range extending technology as well, so different types of fuels or generators can be used like microturbines or (if the efficiencies ever become compelling) hydrogen fuel cells.

      Similar architectures are possible for heavy vehicles like buses or distribution trucks too or even bicycles.

    2. Praedor

      Technically not “all electric” but close enough. And good enough. You cannot yet make an all electric car that will go 400 miles (the range of most average gas cars, including my wee little city car) on a charge, PLUS, you must have a charger at the end of that range, PLUS, the ability to charge up and go without having to hang out all night or for 4-6 hours.

      So…electric cars like the Chevy Volt it is, where the first 100 or so miles are all electric but with a small VERY efficient gas engine included to drive a generator to charge up the batteries and energize the drive motors. I’ll take it. It’s a VAST improvement over right now.

      I checked out their first electric a few months back when I bought my own non-BMW car. VERY nice. Would work very well for what I need LOCALLY but not usable if I wanted to visit family or go on vacation. VERY pricey too – the evil of BMW and its “Apple” style over-pricing just because of the name.

      1. Optimader

        In thermodynamics It’s all about where you want to draw the control volume for the energy inputs/outputs.

        Evil of bmw? Please elaborate, not sure what you mean. Isnt their relationship with their customers one of mutual consent?

    3. Paul Tioxon

      What is more important, than a level of precision to expose corporate lying or ferreting out the possible contagion of being made into a sucker, is the direction of BMW. Yes, it is all electric if all of the models have electric engines. Hybrids include internal combustion power, at worst, an inescapable transition to introduce electric vehicles. This is the kind of internalized self sabotage that goes with the failure to acquire power and use power, because of some felt contradiction. More people walk away from engaging in the political process because of denial of finally experiencing that if they did in fact rule the world, policies maybe different, but you would become just like the people you displaced from power by the use of force, coercion, intimidation and all of the other means of power.

      BMW realizes that just a little over 20 years ago, there were typewriter companies that were giants in German industry, The Olympia typewriter company went down in 1992. So did many other typewriter companies before then. The executives watched and learned that they did not want to wind up like the typewriter industry in the face of computer competition. Fossil fuels are going away in a matter of time. The transition to pure electric vehicles not dependent on gas will take time. The gas pump is all over the map, while electric charging stations are gradually being built out. The hybrid reflects not only the state of technology of limited range but also the limited infrastructure for charging for road trips. Cars and roads may diminish, but cars by the millions will still take people on road trips, eventually purely powered by electricity and sustainable power sources.

      And then there is the matter of financing this rebuilding of society to accommodate EVs. Just as the American city was torn apart to allow for the auto, and suburbs built as auto-centric communities, there will be a new urban/suburban renewal around the electric infrastructure. Just across the street from the once mighty Reading Railroad Terminal, in downtown Philly, an entire city block has been raised and springing up is a new mixed use real estate development with parking that allows for electric recharging of EVs. Something I never thought I’d live to see, just like BMW, the car guy’s car company going electric. The surplus profits of capitalism will remake the world in whatever way turns a profit. It seems clear to me now that a global gold rush has begun to mine the sun for the energy it sends our way. This is probably the only large scale money pit for financiers to go throw their mountains of money at, and actually receive a safe return. I am no longer surprised at capitalism’s capacity for adaptation and recreating a new secular cycle of growth after all other enterprises have been revealed to be dead ends in the very near term.

      1. rusti

        This is the kind of internalized self sabotage that goes with the failure to acquire power and use power, because of some felt contradiction. More people walk away from engaging in the political process because of denial of finally experiencing that if they did in fact rule the world, policies maybe different, but you would become just like the people you displaced from power by the use of force, coercion, intimidation and all of the other means of power.

        Aren’t you the guy who wrote a long-winded tirade with a sort of reverse Godwin’s law when I questioned Hillary’s authenticity as an environmentalist? “All-electric” was probably just a poor translation or choice of words from the news agency when they meant to indicate that the drivetrain for all models would include an electric motor, no need to freak out about it. Optimader certainly wasn’t.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          Tirades are a good thing, it gets peoples attention, maybe not optimander’s or yours, but some people who will get something out of it. I mean seriously, how bent out of shape could I be without mentioning failure to take meds or tin foil hats?

  2. ewmayer

    Yowsers – 2pm came early today! Here it is just after 1am Pacific time, I was just about to hit the (low flow) shower and then to bed, and a final check of NC shows the day to be more than half over for our east coast brethren. I wonder what craazyman will make of this bubble in the spacetime fabric, he thought he had enough to worry about with just bubbles of the financial variety and hunting his elusive unicorn of a 10-bagger amongst them.

    1. Ulysses

      This is just a test run for more ambitious time-travel, pulled of by the intrepid Lambert, along the lines of what William Gibson describes in The Peripheral !!!

  3. Generalfeldmarshall von Hindenburg

    About the Koran thing. Carbon dating has a margin for error that varies depending on a lot of factors. That isn’t pointed out in the article, sadly. The book could be nearly contemporaneous, the traditionally ascribed dates of Mohammed’s life could be in error or there may have been compilations of Mohammed’s teachings assembled before the ‘official’ version. There’s a lot of squirrely stuff about the origins of Christianity also.

  4. abynormal

    safe n happy trails Lambert & Thanks for Cool’n us

    ISM… 51.1/today…52.6/exp…52.7/prev

    heheehee “Sales of new autos in the U.S. jumped in August to the highest level since 2005, propelled by stronger demand for trucks. Auto sales rose to an annual rate of 17.81 million last month, according to Motor Intelligence. Truck sales rose at 10.1 million rate, also the highest in 10 years. Trucks sell at higher prices and deliver more profits for auto makers. The auto industry has been helped by low interest rates, tumbling gas prices and an improved U.S. economy.MW

    about tomorrow: Wednesday:
    • At 7:00 AM ET, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

    • At 8:15 AM, the ADP Employment Report for August. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 210,000 payroll jobs added in August, up from 185,000 in July.

    • At 10:00 AM, Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders (Factory Orders) for July. The consensus is a 0.9% increase in orders.

    • At 2:00 PM, the Federal Reserve Beige Book, an informal review by the Federal Reserve Banks of current economic conditions in their Districts.

  5. Ditto

    1. Do you think leftists eheb they get anyone remotely left leaning raise the bar to want even more or is it just that the left is inheritly not interested in getting a toe hold on power ?

    2. What are parallels between Corbyn and Sanders ? One of them to me is the lengths to which neoliberals are willing to pull back the curtain to stop even minor left leaning from getting even an inch of legitimacy

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I believe you answered your own question. Corbyn and Sanders can’t be counted on to be devoted to Wall Street, the City, and lobbying in general. Even if they aren’t radicals, minor changes represent a threat to plans of the elite apparatus. I expect the bulk of elite neo liberals are hideously over leveraged with sky high mortgages dependent on resale or cashing out.

  6. Jess

    Regarding Sanders’ D-minus NRA rating: Although generally wrong, the NRA (like the proverbial stopped clock) is still occasionally correct, and so it is possible that Bernie agreed with them on one of those times. For instance, it is my understanding that the NRA actually favors or endorsed restrictions on mentally ill people being able to purchase a weapon, but that the ACLU objected because they didn’t want an additional stigma attached to the mentally ill. (And feared that such a regulation might dissuade people from seeking counseling, making the whole situation worse.)

  7. Jess

    Love the idea of having the League of Women Voters sponsor alternate debates. However, isn’t there something in the Dem and GOP rules about not appearing in an unapproved debate? Anyone? Bueller?

      1. 3.17e-9

        Considering that Wasserman Schulz was HRC’s national campaign co-chair in 2008 and that this whole thing is rigged for Hillary’s benefit, my read on the pecking order is:
        everyone else

    1. Kurt Sperry

      If Clinton and Sanders or Trump + whoevers agreed to a set of debates outside the “system”, what happens? The candidates get their debates, with a nice shot of drama and one assumes publicity. And the parties can do what exactly except humiliatingly fold in the end? The threat made to exclude was elementary political process stupidity because it deauthorizes the maker of the threat twice–first it unnecessarily constrains options (I’ll beat you with all but one option tied behind my back!”), then it does again when the threat is revealed as empty. That happening would represent an implicit reordering of the power relationships wouldn’t it?

  8. abynormal

    The Shanghai stock market will be closed Thursday and Friday as China commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. :-/
    But heedless of mounting worries about its economy, or perhaps in an effort to divert attention, the Chinese government is going all out to mark the occasion in style. In addition to declaring Thursday a national holiday, there will be a military parade through Tiananmen Square with foreign dignitaries in attendance.

    Once the parade passes by, there is likely to be more pain in store for China. Goldman Sachs on Monday said the Chinese economy is estimated to have shrank in July and is likely to remain weak in August and September, in part due to Beijing’s move to restrict construction and production during World War II commemoration ceremonies.

    “There is a virtue, I must presume, in shamelessness, since by placing on parade the things one does not know, one discovers that no one else knows either.”
    Robert Ardrey, The Territorial Imperative: A Personal Inquiry Into the Animals Origins of Property and Nations

  9. 3.17e-9

    Why don’t Sanders, O’Malley, and Chaffee ask the League of Women Voters to sponsor some Presidential debates again, and then ask Clinton and Biden to join the fun?

    If they did, they’d risk being barred from the sanctioned debates under the DNC’s exclusionary rule, although one writer (sorry, can’t remember where I read it) suggested that if they all got together and ignored it, HRC would be on stage debating herself.

    It’s an interesting question, though. Sanders has said he wouldn’t participate in any debates that didn’t include HRC, and while it’s to her advantage to have as few debates as possible, it sure would look bad for her to decline an invitation by the League of Women Voters — presuming they’d even do it in the first place.

    Speaking of “shamelessly corrupt, and manipulative,” did you see the video of Debbie Wasserman Schultz following O’Malley’s speech in Minneapolis?

  10. John

    Fritz Haber…GD right, hmmmm…
    Here is the salient wikipedia quote: “Haber is also considered the “father of chemical warfare” for his years of pioneering work developing and weaponizing chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I, especially his actions during the Second Battle of Ypres.”

    How many lives did the weaponized chlorine and other poisonous gases save?
    Or is it, poison gas doesn’t kill people, people kill people. Just like guns.

  11. guest

    The article about autonomous vehicles raised intriguing points.

    1) Regarding self-driving cars as a means for nefarious ends: the obvious solution, on the basis of current trends, is the widespread adoption of biometrics to control the operation of those cars. Want the AV to start? Every passenger must enter his/her biometrics before the engine starts. And the biometrics module itself only launches when all doors are closed and locked. And since it is biometrics, no way to drop a heavy luggage full of semtex on a seat and decamp.

    Welcome to the brave new world.

    2) The author assumes that, with AV, “traffic congestion will be reduced by the better driving, closer spacing and platooning capabilities of software.” At the same time, he “believe[s] we will have more people, in more AVs, traveling more miles every year, requiring a larger fleet than is assumed, and higher annual vehicle production […] Total transportation demand, in the face of per mile cost reductions of 50% to 90%, might logically respond by rebounding to a new equilibrium where consumption is 10X the prior demand.”

    Without a very sharp mathematical analysis — including days of simulations of complex traffic models on supercomputers — it is impossible to assess the compatibility of those two views. Traffic may become denser and more fluid with AV, but if it really increases by an order of magnitude with about the same fleet size, then it is not at all obvious that congestion ceases to be a problem.

    3) The idea that “per mile cost reductions of 50% to 90%” will translate into commensurate reductions of the service price to the end-user seems dubious. After all, what Uber has become well-known for is differential pricing: ordering an AV might therefore be dirt cheap on Sunday mornings at 07:00, but people will probably pay through the nose during rush hours. Barring a radical change in the way our society is organized, people will still go to and come from work at the roughly the same time, go to and come from shopping malls during similar time slots on Saturday, or go to and come from vacations during the same periods. Lots of opportunity to extract maximum fares from AV users.

    Oh, and the whole discussion focuses on individual traffic or passenger transport. There is pretty little discussion on the transport of goods, and no discussion at all on the experience with real-scale passenger transport with automatic railways and subways (in France, Italy, Brazil, Hungary, etc) — which should give us an idea of how much automation as such reduces operating costs.

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