2:00PM Water Cooler 9/14/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



Sanders, 2002: “Mr. Speaker, in the brief time I have, let me give five reasons why I am opposed to giving the President a blank check to launch a unilateral invasion and occupation of Iraq and why I will vote against this resolution…” [HuffPo]. Just saying.

The Voters

“A new poll finds that 43 percent of Republicans believe President Obama is a Muslim, and 20 percent of all adults believe he was born outside the United States” [The Hill].


“Mr. Trump said he has spent around $2 million of his own money to date,” and “continues to resist the experts’ view that he needs a conventional campaign apparatus” [Wall Street Journal, “The One-Man Roadshow of Donald Trump”]. His campaign manager uses Skype. His campaign HQ is in an unfinished space of drywall “that used to house parts of The Apprentice set.” There are squillionaires who are cheap. And there are squillionaires with cash flow problems. Which kind is Trump? His tax returns might help. But he hasn’t released them.

The Trail

“The [YouGov/CBS] poll: NH: Sanders, 52%; Clinton, 30%. Iowa: Sanders, 43%;  Clinton: 33%. South Carolina: Clinton, 46%, Sanders, 23% [YouGov]. Considering that Clinton’s leads keep evaporating where challenged, here 20% lead in South Carolina may be weaker than it seems. (Biden is strong in South Carolina, weak elsewhere.)

“Team Clinton has telegraphed that they are building a southern firewall to lock up the Democratic nomination. Florida would be a part of that must-win turf. But so far, she hasn’t spent much time there” [The Hill]. “‘Other than coming to the great state of Florida to raise money, we haven’t seen too much of Hillary,’ said Daniel Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida.”

Sanders to speak at Liberty University today (Monday) [Bloomberg]. Sanders: “It is very easy for a candidate to speak to people who hold the same views. It’s harder but important to reach out to others who look at the world differently. I look forward to meeting with the students and faculty of Liberty University.”

Gingrich on Trump: “[Trump’s] going to have to learn to be more disciplined, because it’s no longer funny” [The Hill]. Gingrich recommends discipline…

A Trump nightmare scenario [Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books].

If he’s still around next March, Trump could benefit from a change the GOP has made to how delegates are awarded. In primaries and caucuses before March 15, candidates will be awarded delegates proportionately to their vote total; but from March 15 onward, states will have the option of awarding delegates on a winner-take-all basis. …

On paper, this change was intended to benefit a front-runner such as Bush. But what if Trump is still running come March 15? He certainly won’t lack for money. What if a still-plausible Trump wins primaries in some large, winner-take-all states?

Speaking of big states: “Poll: Trump tops GOP field in California” [The Hill].

“A 1991 documentary on Donald Trump which he suppressed from broadcast by legal threats is now available online. Entitled ‘Trump: What’s The Deal?,’ the documentary paints an extremely unflattering picture of Trump as a businessman” [Shadowproof]. “The film claims that Trump’s celebrated property on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, known as Trump Tower, used undocumented Polish immigrant labor in the demolition process. The immigrants reportedly worked grueling 12-hour shifts with no overtime pay in asbestos-laden dust.”

“In three pending lawsuits, including one in which the New York attorney general is seeking $40 million in restitution, former students allege that [Trump University] bilked them out of their money with misleading advertisements” [WaPo].

“In the battle for the soul of the Republican Party, Trump’s gain has come at Rubio’s expense. Rubio’s candidacy is an outgrowth of a consensus among GOP elites that the party must “modernize” and appeal to a diversifying electorate if it ever wants to win the White House again. Trump represents the opposite: the white and nativist faction of the party that is anxious about the country’s changing demographics” [Bloomberg].

“A RealClearPolitics polling average shows Walker in seventh place nationally in the GOP primary, with 4.8 percent support. Walker was in first place overall in that same polling average as recently as March” [The Hill].  I confess I thought he’d scrap and chew and claw and work the Kohl shirt riff into contending, but no. Part of Walker’s problem must be Trump, not only because Trump sucks all the oxygen out of the room, but because where Walker stomps Democrats, Trump stomps everybody you hate and gets away with it. It may also be true that Iowans, at least, got to know their neighbor better:

“Why are people leaving Wisconsin? State ranked in top 10 for out-migration” [Journal Times].

“Walker job-creation officials promise to do better” [LaCrosse Tribune].

For candidates Jindal and Santorum, the relation between time spent in Iowa and support is inverse [Bloomberg].

The Hill

Trump dings Boehner, which will make the Tea Party happy [Columbus Dispatch].

Stats Watch

Readers, I must take public transportation to see a man about the house. If u cn rd ths, that means I couldn’t get to a WiFi point in time to do stats.

Canadian Election

“The latest numbers for the three leading parties: Conservatives: 30.9 per cent; Liberals: 31.7 per cent; NDP: 30.1 per cent” [CTV]. That’s a horse race!

“The Case Against Stephen Harper” [The Atlantic].

“‘Stephen Harper isn’t perfect’: New Tory message raises eyebrows online” [CBC]. Who’s doing his advertising? The same people who worked for Rahm Emmanuel?

“Canada must reclaim its role as a world leader” [Jean Chrétien, Globe and Mail]. “In my travels around the globe, I am regularly asked: What has happened to Canada?”

“For a $50 donation to the local NDP candidate, anyone can put a custom message on a campaign-style sign that will be placed near a Harper election sign” [CBC]. Creative!

“Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair criticized Quebec sovereignty on Tuesday but also brandished the nationalist card by promising Quebecers a special status in Canada if his party forms the government in this fall’s election” [CBC].

“The CBC Should Be a Top Election Issue for Canadians” [HuffPo].

Our Famously Free Press

“‘Cut up Khrushchev for sausages!’ A history lesson for The New York Times” [Left East]. Important story from the old Soviet Union.


Australia’s Channel 9 bans GetUp anti-TPP ad [Macrobusiness]. So here it is:

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email” [Pro Publica].

Police State

“T-Shirt Sold At Law Enforcement Convention Claims ‘Black Rifles Matter'” [Boing Boing]. “It wasn’t intentional,” [Chuck Garcia, who designed the t-shirt] said. ‘All lives matter.'” Uh huh. Whenever you hear that phrase, “All lives matter,” remember Chuck and his t-shirt.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“woolman, singer, and reparations” [cheese it, the cops]. The argument for reparations. In 1763.

“Black designer hits back at police ‘brutality and racism’ with powerful collection of blood-spattered clothing – and starts his NYFW show with horrific footage of police violence, including Eric Garner’s death” [Daily Mail]. Um.

“[#CampaignZero, led by DeRay Mckesson] a polished set of proposals with recommendations on the local, state, and federal levels — and the slate of proposals provides the kind of specifics that please donors and national Democrats, and is a favorite of Washington’s black political class” [BuzzFeed]. “Campaign Zero has also become a source of contention within the broader Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the increased prominence of Mckesson, the Bowdoin graduate who left behind a six-figure salary with Teach for America to protest in Ferguson.”

On broken windows policing: “Over the years the most progressive police agencies have understood that their role in protecting the quality of life is distinct from their role in controlling serious predatory crime. The task is not a matter of strictly enforcing clear-cut rules that everyone already understands but of reminding the users of public spaces about the special forms of self-restraint they need to observe in environments they share with others” [The Marshall Project].”

Ben Carson on Black Lives Matter: “[I]t’s foisting yourself on people – rather than engaging in dialogue – and bullying people” [CBS].


How La Paz, Bolivia’s biggest city freed itself from a ubiquitous culture of corruption [Foreign Policy]. It can be done!

“How the GOP and Education Privatizers Are Using Charters to Bleed Pennsylvania Schools Dry” [Alternet].

[As Wythe Keever, spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association] explains, ‘When students and funding are drawn away from a traditional public school, the traditional public school can’t reduce their overhead because they have fixed costs. They have to operate the buses and feed the students and pay the light and water bill. Charter schools taking away a few students from different grade levels doesn’t produce any savings. You still have to staff the same number of classrooms.'”

Feh. Charters aren’t supposed to produce savings. They’re supposed to produce profits. What’s wrong with this guy?

“After 25 Years, Teach for America Results are Consistently Underwhelming” [Nonprofit Quarterly]. “[T]he question of whether TFA is living up to its mission to enlist, develop, and mobilize future leaders to strengthen the movement for educational equity remains an unanswered one.” Somebody tell Deray…

The bargain that closed St. Vincent’s hospital [City and State]. “Nonprofits need the philanthropy provided by developers, who in exchange garner naming rights and influence in how the nonprofits operate – all as a way of ‘giving back.’ Nonprofits also count on the political clout of their real estate patrons, who shower politicians at every level with tens of millions of dollars. By some estimates the real estate industry provides 10 percent of all the campaign cash donated in the Empire State, which is funneled through limited liability companies to mask the source of the funds.”

“[AIPAC] features multiple tiers of giving … all the way up to Minyan, ‘an elite circle who participate in exclusive events and travel opportunities. They have engaged in intimate conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former President Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and many others,’ in exchange for a $100,000 annual donation [Foreign Policy]. “Minyan” has a different connotation for me, but whatever…

“When Filipino worker Berto Morales was digging on a government irrigation project in 1981, he literally struck gold. But what he found that day was worth more than its weight—he had uncovered evidence of a lost civilization” [Asia Society]. Something else I’d love to go see, if I were in New York. However, Morales’s story is not a happy one…


[T]the activist group “Feed The Birds” is distributing cannabis seeds across the country as part of a grassroots campaign to draw attention to the ridiculousness of prohibition” [Reset]. “Scattering cannabis seeds in a public place with the intention of offering nutritionally dense, mineral and omega fatty acid rich seeds to our feathered friends is not a crime.”

Class Warfare

“Despite the large increases in economic inequality since 1970, American survey respondents exhibit no increase in support for redistribution, in contrast to the predictions from standard theories of redistributive preferences” [NBER]. “In particular, the two groups who have most moved against income redistribution are the elderly and African-Americans.” Hmm.

News of the Wired

Once more on 9/11: “Never Forget (Except For The Stuff They Wish We’d Forget, Go Ahead And Forget That Stuff) [Gawker]. Remember “My Pet Goat”? Third-class intellect, second-class temperament…

“The ‘granny for an hour’ charity project in the Vladimir region near Moscow means that families with small children can borrow an older person ‘to render help and assistance’ several times a week, free of charge, Russian television channel NTV reports [BBC].

“High-Tech Lights to Help Baby Sleep, or Students Stay Alert” [New York Times].

“Visualizing the Meditative Lives of Bonsai Trees” [National Geographic (Furzy Mouse)]. Gorgeous!

* * *

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 (AH):


Dahlias against the sky….

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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. Jim Haygood

    Our anticipated “Rose Mary Woods moment” has arrived:

    There are gaps totaling five months in the Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department, the watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Monday morning. The gap in emails received [from] Clinton run from Jan. 21, 2009 to April 12, 2009, and from Dec. 30, 2012 to Feb. 1, 2013.

    Among the newly obtained documents is an internal appraisal by the State Department which determined that none of Clinton’s emails should have been excluded for examination as to whether they were personal or government business.

    The document, titled “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Email Appraisal Report,” dated Feb. 9, 2015, concluded: “As the person holding the highest level job in the Department, any email message maintained by or for the immediate use of the secretary of state is ‘appropriate for preservation.’ This record series cannot be considered personal papers based on the definition of a record in 44 U.S.C. 3301 or Department policy found in 5 FAM 443.”

    The documents also revealed for the first time the private email account that top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills apparently used to conduct government business, cherylmills@gmail.com


    You mean ‘gmail’ isn’t an abbreviation of ‘governmentmail’? This changes everything!

    1. Carolinian

      Cheryl Mills and gmail: on the plus side she probably received lots of useful government targeted advertising while using Google products.

      Apparently the latest polls show it’s not the email controversy that is causing HIllary’s fall in the polls. It’s just her they don’t like.

      That said she may still pull it off down here in the Firewall. We were always the Bush firewall. Since Bill is now Dubya’s “brother by another mother” then Hill must be a Bush sister in law by another mother. G.W. could come campaign for her.

      1. Jim Haygood

        If Hillary lost (or even worse, willfully destroyed) five months worth of official emails, she’s got bigger problems than weakening polls.

        Bryan Pagliano’s not walking the plank for the hildabeest.

    1. craazyboy

      Ya, the Rs found a token that’s even whiter than Obama and dumber than GWB. I got a kick out of one of his comments in the Fox debate that he was hanging around with Generals to get up to speed in US foreign policy. Ok, we suspected it worked that way. He also thought Greenspan was a Treasury Sec. – so some larning needed there too – but we got Goldman people for that, don’t we????

      If this county really wants a black dude for Prez, get Snoop Dog. We’d get a whole new result from those meetings with cronies in the dark, smoked filled room.

      1. optimader

        Bush is dumb Carson is ignorant.
        A dark side of being a surgeon, particularly a neurosurgeon, except for the absolutely brilliant ones that can compartmentalize, it can be all consuming. Carson probably has spent too much time in vortex of his discipline rather taking time to critically examination his beliefs and what make the larger world tick.. Now he done with his trade and out in the real world.
        Compound that by being raised by 7th day Adventist. They are their own brand of crazy.

    2. jrs

      Now what about Jerry Brown and his well known support of fracking. Hmm… Or the fossil fuel industry is so powerful he has no choice? And no extraction taxes on oil either (gas taxes at the pump are high I will grant that). By the way if I can do nothing else I can give the thumbs up to the protesters of fracking that follow Jerry Brown wherever he goes in this state. That’s what is really happening on the ground, in case one was too busying twittering to notice.

      All this culture war stuff on what people believe, while it may be true people who believe nonsense like anthropomorphic climate change is not real will be of little help in mitigating it, those who believe it is a problem actually DO no better when they are in office either. It’s all about ACTIONS, what are you going to DO? Not what you think. We need a revolution.

      1. ChrisFromGeorgia

        I could not agree more. I’ll start taking Jerry Brown and other California politicians seriously on climate change when they can muster the courage to actually do something about it, as opposed to posturing and taking swipes at national candidates who aren’t even running for California state offices.

        The fact that they can’t even ban fracking given the drought they’re in amazes me. Tempting to say “let them burn.”

        1. Synapsid


          I’m no fan of fracking but here’s some context: I haven’t seen numbers more recent but in 2011 in Texas, number one in fracking of all the states, fracking used 0.7% as much water as agriculture did, and California is a larger agricultural state than Texas.

          Keep in mind the way to stop fracking: don’t sell or lease the water or water rights that the fracking companies need. They can’t just seize water you know–they have to buy or lease.

          An interesting comparison in California would be water consumption for



          bottled water;

          growing marijuana in the NW part of the State.

          1. Vatch

            One aspect of fracking that should not be ignored is the toxicity of the fracking chemicals. Even if only a relatively small amount of water is used for fracking, there is a danger that drinkable groundwater will be contaminated. That would be very bad during a drought.

            Having said that, like JTMcPhee at 5:05 PM, I approve of Jerry Brown’s message about Ben Carson’s foolishness. People are rarely all bad or all good, and in this particular case, Brown deserves praise, just as he deserves criticism on the fracking issue.

          2. ChrisFromGeorgia

            It’s a fair point but the corollary is that agriculture is much more important to the California economy than fracking is, or probably ever will be. If I recall, there may not even be any actual economically productive wells there – it’s all “hypothetically recoverable” at some price point that may well be economic fantasy.

            I look at banning fracking as “low hanging fruit” for California in the drought response. It might not move the needle much, but it sends a message. The fact that it hasn’t been done speaks to the corruption of the legislature and Jerry Brown by big oil and gas interests.

      2. JTMcPhee

        So, in the list of those earmarked for the guillotine, where would you put Jerry Brown? Maybe there are other sticks to beat him with in CA, but when he at least dumps a very appropriate turd on the desk of a person who I, at least, knowing my own portion of culpability in where we humans have got to despite being born with a huge silver spoon called Gaia in our mouths, would put a lot closer to the steps up to the platform, the best that can be offered is what sounds like oppo?

        Yeah, hold his feet to the fire, you can bet the frackers and abusers of wasting water sure are, but why diminish a seemingly useful act from even the likes of Mr. Brown? Humans need something, all right,but my feeling is that it would require some significant combination of re-casting the order of alleles in the nucleic acids that populate our germ cells to re-wire the parts of the brain that facilitate and effectuate the “neo” impulses and of course that part about beating Abel to death with a convenient rock, AK-47 or nuclear device…How many revolutions have actually worked? The Reagan Revolution? The “color revolutions?” But “we” do need something, fer sure…

  2. Oregoncharles

    “There are squillionaires who are cheap. And there are squillionaires with cash flow problems. Which kind is Trump?”

    Trump is a populist (and former Democrat). Even his ugliest positions are populist. Cheap earns him points.

    And, hey, he’s winning. Who can argue with that?

    1. hunkerdown

      Also, the rich don’t get rich by spending money where it doesn’t make money. Trump’s only acting vainglorious — he knows how, and more importantly where, to skin a flint.

  3. ewmayer

    The Beeb has a quite appalling piece of Big-Data-elite propaganda from a couple of MIT Sloan School wonks today. Like so many Mike Shedlock pieces about the Rise of the Machines and why we should ‘rejoiceth, yea!’ at the trend, it is predictably of the wildly-optimistic ‘technotopian’ variety. Despite briefly noting a few ‘concerns’ about the non-data-scientist, non-social-media-privacy-sucking-psychopath-‘entrepreneur’ and non-‘sharing-economy’-kleptocrat portion of humanity, we have the usual raft of reality-ignoring happytalk. Let’s dig into it, shall we?

    …robots and other forms of automation can aid in the creation of new and better jobs for humans.

    Like Amazon warehouse-working ‘creators’, for instance, who all-too-often (as has been widely documented, with the resulting PR scandals often providing the only modicums of relief) toil under brutal job conditions, have every second of their time micromanaged by all-seeing BigData algos, and have 0 job security.

    On the other hand, jobs such as data scientist didn’t used to exist, but because computers have made enormous data sets analyzable, we now have new jobs for people to interpret these huge pools of information.

    …and use the resulting insights to more efficiently exploit the non-data-elite ‘Amazon warehouse troglodyte’ portion of (sub)humanity, naturally.

    In fact, since the theme of a bipolar social restructuring into – in an eerie echo of the plot of a classic Star Trek episode – big-data-elite “cloud people” and cave-toiling troglodytes so pervades the Brave New Big Data Economy the article describes, let’s throw out some standard nomenclature for the 2 main resulting castes: CloudPeople and Trogs.

    In the tumult of our economy, even as old tasks get automated away, along with demand for their corresponding skills, the economy continues to create new jobs and industries.

    Gosh, that sounds great … but a few paragraphs down we read

    Our economic data make it clear that we are not doing as well as we should be at creating jobs and raising wages.

    This is overwhelmingly so for the Trogs – and the article fails to note that from the perspective of the CloudPeople, a permanently-downtrodden precariat is in fact a feature, not a bug. Thus the ensuing sentence rests on a demonstrably false premise:

    Corporations, workers and government can work together to find solutions to this problem.

    Only if the elite kleptocrats and sociopaths running these institutions *want* to find solutions to ‘this problem’. Since as I just noted they see it as quite the opposite of ‘a problem’, the point is moot. Think I’m being too cynical? Check out what one greatly-admired CloudPerson ‘thought leader,’ Warren Buffett, recently said about the usefulness of the Trogs, specifically about those Trogs who are so pathetic that they fail to even make useful Amazon shelf-picker drones, erm, I mean valued warehouse associates™:

    “You want everybody educated to their potential. You want people to reach their potential. That still won’t work for some people in a highly developed market system.

    I mean if this were a sports-based system, you could give me a PhD in football, and I could practice eight hours a day, and I might be able to carry the water from, not onto the field, but from the locker room to the bench. There’s just some people don’t fit well into a highly skilled market-based economy.

    They’re perfectly decent citizens. We’ll send them off to Afghanistan, but they are not going to command a big price.”

    And as the aforementioned Star Trek episode made clear, once the class divide has become wide enough and gone on for long enough, the elites come to dismiss a priori the ‘educative potential’ of the Trogs, leading to a self-perpetuating dynamic. Again, feature, not bug, from the perspective of the CloudPeople. But, back to the Beeb article…

    Where humans beat machines

    Creative endeavours: These include creative writing, entrepreneurship, and scientific discovery. These can be highly paid and rewarding jobs.

    …but increasingly are so only for a microscopic fraction of said Creators. Look at what the Amazon Book-authorship model has done to writing, what the Apple iTunes model has done to musicianship, and what the near-abolition of tenure in the ever-more-corporatist-styled academia has done to academic research and teaching.

    There is no better time to be an entrepreneur with an insight than today, because you can use technology to leverage your invention.

    Especially if your ‘entrepreneurship’ consists of exploitation, perhaps creating a new class of Trogs to replace one of the rapidly-dwindling halfway-decent job niches for non-Big-Data elites. We can call this process “Uberization”.

    Social interactions: Robots do not have the kinds of emotional intelligence that humans have. Motivated people who are sensitive to the needs of others make great managers, leaders, salespeople, negotiators, caretakers, nurses, and teachers. Consider, for example, the idea of a robot giving a half-time pep talk to a high school football team. That would not be inspiring.

    And again, the only jobs in the listed categories where wages remain decent are the subcategories which reward exploitation and serve the narrow interests of the elites. And I’m not sure what to make of the sheer inanity of the “half-time talk” example, but let’s use that to examine another extremely narrow job category where pay gains have been impressive in the U.S.: coaches of elite college sports programs. Aha – yet another business model based on obscene explotation, here of college athletes, shockingly few of whom will ever have a shot at making that kind of money in the pro ranks.

    Physical dexterity and mobility: If you have ever seen a robot try to pick up a pencil you see how clumsy and slow they are, compared to a human child. Humans have millennia of experience hiking mountains, swimming lakes, and dancing—practice that gives them extraordinary agility and physical dexterity.

    Jobs that depend on these kinds of skills and experiences, such as gardening and housekeeping, are jobs that robots are not good at. Some of these jobs are not always highly paid, but it is unlikely that a robot will soon take them over. However, our friends in robotics are working hard at getting better all the time, so this last category is the one most likely to change.

    I highlighted that one snip – and note the queer, forced ‘I am trying desperately to put as positive a spin on this as I can’ syntax of the wording, “Some of these jobs are not always highly paid” – because I would phrase it “almost none of these jobs are paid at all, much less highly paid”. And the robots will only be coming for thse that pay something, even if sub-minimum wage, because as a CloudPerson, by definition, you can only further enrich yourself by saving labor costs where there are such costs to begin with.

    The percentage of prime working age adults in the US with jobs is at a 30-year low, hourly wage growth is slow by historic standards, and real median household income is no higher than it was 20 years ago.

    And the fact that [a] all this occurred in the context of a massive increase in overall productivity, much of it rooted in the technology the article lauds, and [b] an unprecedented skewing of the fruit of said gains going to an ever-narrower elite class should give you pause about ‘where we are headed.’

    Workers, for their part, have to be strategic and aim for the jobs least likely to be overtaken by robots or other machines. They have to commit to a lifetime of practicing and updating their skills by, for example, taking extra courses online and in classrooms. Lifetime learning and continued training and retraining are key.

    Translation: you need to abandon any old-fashioned notions of loyalty (except of the ‘yours to ensuring our profits’ kind), job security and you-will-be-cared-for-in-your-old-age and go deep into student debt so that you will be desperate for some kind of job, any kind of job. Speaking of which: your English lit PhD is useless to us, but since as you noted you are willing to ‘do anything’, we do have a few warehouse associate™ position openings for those who enjoy working in extreme heat, lifting heavy objects as long as 12-18 hours per day, and who never need to chat with their fellow Trogs, erm, I mean warehouse associates™ or take a pee break. Oh, and you must agree to be on-call 24/7, have your personal life – sorry, ‘non-paid hours of job performance’ – monitored by our custom App which we will install on our smartphone (which you will pay for, of course), and it helps if you are self-insured.

    Governments, for their part, need to create a climate where entrepreneurs can flourish, because new ventures create new jobs. There is troubling evidence that entrepreneurship is on the decline. This needs to change.

    The answer to the new and growing workforce of robots is not to slow the pace of technological progress, but to speed up our institutions so that entrepreneurs, managers and workers alike can thrive.

    Ah, the obligatory closing note of ‘some worry … but yes we can™!’ optimism – Picture Mom, apple pie, kittens sleeping in the embrace of huge dogs, and happy-faced flying unicorns pooping Skittles candies to shower the joyous masses of future thriving workers™. And all it takes is to eliminate human greed and get a deeply entrenched, violence-prone-when-threatened class of elites to work against their own self-interests. Easy!

  4. PQS

    Thank you for the bonsai photo essay. Better get the goodies in before Murdoch ruins everything at NatGeo.

    And Ben Carson doesn’t even believe in evolution. Very strange to me how someone with so much education can miss so much education. Just confirms my suspicions abut how far we’ve fallen in our definition of “educated.”

    1. Daryl

      Wikipedia tells me he has 38 (!) honorary doctorate degrees. I realize they’re not at all relevant, but schools might want to think a little harder before handing those things out.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      NatGeo has been a right-wing organ for quite a while, when I was a kid all I recall seeing was wonderful stories about nature and travel, but more recently they run lots of stories gushing about really cool new American tanks and missiles, lovely, just what we need more deification of the GAWM (Great American War Machine)

      1. Rhondda

        Yes, NatGeo has been right wing PC for quite a while. They are rife with Intelligent Design. Un-watchable, from my perspective.

  5. Anon

    In addition to the AIPAC piece, there’s also this one from Bloomberg way back in March:

    Among the Shnook and Machers at AIPAC

    Elizabeth Cutler, an artist in Bangor, Maine, and an officer of her family’s charitable foundation, told me that every time an AIPAC staff member (denoted by orange lanyards) notices her just wandering around, “someone offers to help me.” Minyan club members don’t wait in line anywhere. Like Henry Hill in Goodfellas at the Copa, they’re ushered in past the metal detectors and shown to the front of the room as soon as they arrive. On Sunday night, the Minyan Club was invited to a lavish off-site dinner, followed by a panel discussion with George Will and Leon Wieseltier. On Monday, they were offered a tour of the Polish embassy. For the annual dinner, Minyan Club members have the tables closest to the stage.

    When you’re a Minyan, you don’t know what waiting is – if that isn’t an AIPAC slogan, it should be.

  6. rich

    Bankers Will Be Jailed in the Next Financial Crisis
    Michael Krieger

    Jesus College, Cambridge hosted, once more, the world’s leading Symposium on Economic Crime, and over 500 distinguished speakers and panelists drawn from the widest possible international fora, gathered to make presentations to the many hundreds of delegates and attendees.

    What became very quickly clear this year was the general sense of deep disgust and repugnance that was demonstrated towards the global banking industry.

    I can say with some degree of certainty now that a very large number of academics, law enforcement agencies, and financial compliance consultants are now joined, as one, in their total condemnation of significant elements of the global banking sector for their organised criminal activities.

    Many banks are widely identified now as nothing more than enterprise criminal organisations, who engage in widespread criminal practice and dishonest conduct as a matter of course and deliberate commercial policy.

    – From the excellent article: The Banking Criminals Exposed


    1. craazyman

      wow. change (no pun intended) is in the air

      I could feel this one coming the second I hear the smash hit by that New Zealand teenager Lorde, “Royals”.

      That was a few years ago, but when you hear something like that “on the radio” and it leterally was a radio playing in a gourmet lunch place — not like the old days when you had a choice between roast beef and chicken salad on white or wheat bread. And fries or potato salad. That was it. And a pickle. You could also have Chinese food. That was it. Sandwhiches and Chinese food. or pizza/pasta or a chikenn parmeggiana hero. That was about it. Now you can have “Kale salad with almonds and apples with sesame dressing” along with a foo-foo sandwich made with vegetables of 8 varieties. OR you can have a $7 soup! Can you believe that. $7 for a soup! — and it came on the radio while I got my foo foo sandwich with the sound of the words up near the ceiling and i listened to the words and the tune and the voice and i thought, i really thought “This is noosphere stuff I’m hearing.” Then I knew.

      But still, it’s nice to see it confirmed. It’s like Einstein’s relativity experiments with the star light and the sun’s gravity. He already knew what it would be. But it’s good that God didn’t drop the ball there when the video camera was running.

      1. John Merryman

        Be careful what you wish for. The power of money is that it is quantified hope and the polarities of social control are hope and fear. So when the big bubble pops, you know which way those political weathervanes will turn.

    2. ewmayer

      No disrespect to Michael Krieger, but I’ll believe it when I see it, on a scale commensurate with that of the crimes.

      What became very quickly clear this year was the general sense of deep disgust and repugnance that was demonstrated towards the global banking industry.

      No — such may been ‘expressed towards the global banking industry,’ but it certainly has not been demonstrated. Talk is cheap — remember candidate (or maybe early-stage president) Obama waxing indignant at ‘fat cat bankers?’ Whatever came of that?

      1. Vatch

        “No disrespect to Michael Krieger, but I’ll believe it when I see it”

        No kidding! The rich and powerful are quite good at protecting themselves. I hope Michael Krieger is correct, but reality can be very harsh.

    3. washunate

      They’re trying to get out in front of the public. Police chiefs, judges, prosecutors, academics, and other institutional voices are very nearly out of any credibility. I agree it will be very interesting to see if significant numbers of the ‘good guys’ that still believe in quaint things like rule of law are able to act at a systemically meaningful scale.

      Until then, though, it’s all hat and no cattle.

  7. allan

    Apparently, Andrew Cuomo is the new Jeremy Corbyn:

    Cuomo’s Push for $15 Minimum Wage Questioned by Fiscal Watchdog

    Cuomo’s , speaking to reporters, says the plan would be phased in over several years, by 2018 in New York City and 2021 upstate, and to make it easier for businesses to adjust and perhaps more palatable for republicans in the legislature.

    A dollar a year increase upstate sounds reasonable, right? Wrong:

    EJ Mc Mahon, with the fiscal think tank the Empire Center, says that’s a huge leap in a state that has wide variances in income between upstate and downstate.

    “This is a very significant, pervasive extreme proposal,” McMahon said. “It goes far beyond anything anyone has ever seriously proposed before.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Upstate New York is Mississippi.

      Impose a 15-dollar minimum wage, and you could turn it into Puerto Rico.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Unrealistic minimum wage demands, which you never hear about during periods of high unemployment, are an excellent contrary indicator of impending recession.

          When recession arrives (probably within the next two years) and the minimum wage is set too high in nasty old frost belt areas, population loss accelerates.

          West Virginia, whose minimum rises to $8.75 next year, already is running this experiment. Watch its shrinking population shrink even faster.

              1. ambrit

                Ol Massa has told us that it’s been doing the State of Mississippi real good. Some of us more “intellectual” Mississippians must complain though. We are not racing anyone to the bottom. We have been here all of the time and are but occasionally striving mightily to maintain the Status Quo.

          1. Massinissa

            Its RISING to 9 dollars and you think its going to crush business? I have no words, dude. Its not possible to live in America on 8 right now.

      1. Ulysses

        Be nice to get some decent spicy food up in Utica for a change!! As someone with roots in upstate (and downstate for that matter) that go back to the 17th century, I can assure you that upstate is not Mississippi, nor even New Jersey, thank goodness!!

  8. RUKidding

    Change in PM, but not the govt, in Australia.


    Turnbull’s a former investment banker. Not exactly a small-L “liberal,” but more socially liberal than Abbott. Will be interesting to watch what Turnbull does. Abbott managed to make a fool of himself and really turned off the constituents with some of poor decisions.

  9. Bunk McNulty

    “A pair of physicians who take care of sick people in Boston don’t deserve to be collateral damage in a national political debate, no matter how important that debate.”

    Anatomy Of A Smear (Boston Globe)

  10. P Walker

    Jean Chretien does not have the right to lecture Stephen Harper about Canada’s foreign policy deterioration. Chretien went along with EVERYTHING the Americans did *except* Iraq during his rule. Iraq was just a bridge too far for even the Liberal Party of Canada.

  11. alex morfesis

    on broken windows policing…kill it…campaign zero is right…Thacher is…well…let us just say he would not make anyone walk on the other side of the street if they saw him walking towards him…and I think that is a big part of the discussion…if you come from a place of fear, like Thacher seems to be coming from, and you want people to “behave” in public spaces…then you are always going to want “big daddy” law enforcement officer to “make them stop and play nice”…

    I think Cam/zero “only” focusing on the police officers instead of the prosecutors is a mistake…making prosecutors take at least 50% of their cases to jury as a matter of law will help end some of the mess we are in…

    if you charge em, you gotta take them to a jury…

    lazy prosecutors will frustrate a good police officer by letting obvious problem players go just because they can afford the better lawyers…

    officers also need days off when they know they should not be out and about…but the current, borderline gestapo management tactics of most police office jockeys (captains, desk sergeants, police chiefs) makes for an ugly start of a day for most regular officers…creating a scenario for confrontations with the public…

    making it illegal to reduce the size of a police force without a citizen vote via referendum would remove the little secret of making sure there is “just enough crime” to keep things going…

    remove police officers who claim to be afraid…it is the new “theater”…”I was in fear for my life and my training and experience tells me I needed to kill the %#gro”…

    and move to make the idea that you forgot your drivers license and registration a non actionable offense…an officer has access to the registration information when you get pulled over and they often look to see the registered owners driving information…so why exactly do you need my drivers license, registration and insurance…

    also…why can not a police officer be trained to explain why they decided to disrupt your day…

    sir, I pulled you over because my radar says you were going 10 miles over the marked speed limit…is there some emergency that you need to be speeding ??

    a simple pleasant starting gesture of explanation might defuse 80% of the possible confrontations and problems…

    training officers that someone who is hardly able to pay the bills might be frustrated to get a frivolous citation which will cost a working class person next weeks cell phone money or the childrens birthday party money…might explain why sometimes, the act of pulling someone over sometimes does not make for happy citizens…

  12. Rhondda

    “Campaign Zero has also become a source of contention within the broader Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the increased prominence of Mckesson, the Bowdoin graduate who left behind a six-figure salary with Teach for America to protest in Ferguson.”

    I generally agree with Alex, above. But I am suspicious, to put it mildly, of George Soros organizations’ involvement in Ferguson and BlackLivesMatter– Open Society, Teach for America.
    George Soros-associated organizations are involved in Bad Stuff in Ukraine…and elsewhere. Like a proxy for the US State Dept. I gotta say, if I was Out and All Over It as an activist, I wouldn’t take one dime of that old vampire’s blood money. Makes me wonder about some who do.

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