2:00PM Water Cooler 10/16/2015

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“If you back up your DVDs, or analyze your software to make sure it is secure, you may soon face a surprising penalty: the physical destruction of your computer, phone, or other device” [Slate] “Hyperbole? Not so much, based on the latest leak [of TPP’s Intellectual Property Chapter] from a budding international “trade” deal largely concocted and managed by the Obama administration.” And that’s before we get to the the Internet of Things, eh?

Timeline: “Don’t Hold Your Breath for Cheap Steaks: Here’s the TPP Timeline” [Bloomberg]. “Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, has said that the text would be made public in early November, starting the process leading to a congressional vote on legislation to implement the accord. But with trade expected to be an issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the Obama administration may wait until late March or April to submit it to Congress.”

Timeline: “There are rumors that TPP’s consideration by Congress might be delayed until after the 2016 election, in the “lame duck” session” [Dave Johnson, CAF]. Good roundup.

United States: “Weekly Address: Writing the Rules for a Global Economy” [White House].

TTIP, Cecilia Malmström: “Letter: In defence of TTIP, and my role as EU Trade Commissioner” [Independent]. Plucking a quote at random:

TTIP will not undermine the NHS. The NHS itself has said: “Providing that the wording… is sufficiently watertight, nothing envisaged in TTIP should change the current situation in the NHS regarding commissioning of publicly-funded health services.”

“Provided that the wording….” Notice how Malmström’s evidence completely undermines her claim; and the claim and the evidence are only one sentence apart! Do these people think we can’t read?

ISDS in TPP: “Research by the OECD indicates that the average legal and arbitration costs for a claimant are around $8 million” [TechDirt]. “Trade” deals are for big business only, in case you didn’t know. 



Fox commentator and ZOMG!!!! Benghazi expert fabricated 27-year CIA career [The Hill]. That’s so meta. He was clearly qualified to become a CIA operative,  based on performance, so why didn’t he just do it?


“Democratic socialist Sanders outraises Bush, other Republicans in third quarter” [Market Watch].

The Debates

Maybe “Slate” should rename themselves as “Tank”?

The Trail

After a chance meeting in Union Station with #SandraBland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, Sanders told Reed-Veal that the death of her daughter was inexcusable and promised he would continue to “say her name.” At the debate on Oct. 13 in Las Vegas, Sanders stayed true to his word when answering a question submitted by a law student through Facebook: “Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?” [Yahoo News]. But without turning the Union Station meeting into a tweetable moment, or turning it into a “When I met….” story. Classy.

The odious Debbie Wasserman-Schultz “commandeered the party’s debate schedule in a manner that left her own deputies and several campaigns seething” [HuffPo]. “Rybak and another DNC vice chair, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), went public with their grievances, saying they were not consulted on the process and did not support having only six debates.” And lots of other detail; insiders seem quite willing to talk… 

“Of two dozen Democratic insiders with whom I spoke this week, including several DNC vice chairs, not one defended Wasserman Schultz’s treatment of Gabbard. Most called it ridiculous, outrageous, or worse. Many argued, further, that the debate plan enacted by the chairwoman is badly flawed—an assessment shared by many party activists, left-bent supporters of Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, and those candidates themselves, all of whom see it as a naked effort to aid and comfort Hillary Clinton” [Bloomberg]. Reading the detail on this post and the previous, there seems to be a bit more going on than a vanilla “Dems in disarray” story.

“Politics won’t stop Chelsea Clinton’s friendship with Ivanka Trump” [The Hill]. It’s like Murder on the Orient Express: They’re all in it together…. 

The Hill

“Paul Ryan vs. House Freedom Caucus: Who will blink first in speaker’s race?” [Los Angeles Times]. Jeebus, we’ve got to force people to run for Speaker? If the “Freedom Caucus” is so great, why don’t they just nominate one of their own?

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, September 2015: “Industrial production continues to sink, down 0.2 percent in September which is slightly better than the Econoday consensus for minus 0.3 percent” [Econoday]. “Overall capacity utilization slipped 3 tenths to 77.5 percent with manufacturing utilization down 2 tenths to 75.9 percent. Note that excess capacity in the manufacturing sector is a factor that is holding down the costs of goods.” And: “onsider this a soft data point that was expected. It is beginning to look like industrial production is in a recession” [Econintersect].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, October 2015: “Edged back.” [Econoday]. “These are all very tame readings and underscore, as do so many other reports, the difficulty the Fed is facing in raising inflation expectations.”

Consumer Sentiment, October(p), 2015: “The weekly consumer comfort index, which is on its best run in six years, correctly signaled what is a big uptick for the twice monthly consumer sentiment index, which is up nearly 5 points to 92.1 for the best reading since mid-August when troubles in China first upset the financial markets” [Econoday]. Current conditions and expectations both up. “Inflation aside, this report is very good news, pointing to rising consumer spirits going into the all important holiday shopping season”?

JOLTS, August 2015: “Job openings fell back in August, to 5.370 million from 5.668 million in July” [Econoday]. “However, the quit rate, which is watched as an indication of worker confidence, does remain stubbornly low, unchanged for a fifth month at 1.9 percent.” Everybody’s hunkered down? And: “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future jobs growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year unadjusted private non-farm job openings declined significantly” [Econintersect].

“So – why has US labour force participation fallen so far? It’s not only that the population is ageing, it’s not only the impact of the longer time spent studying, or of the rise of discouraged workers. All of these trends are true also in countries where labour participation rates are expanding. And the fall in participation rates is larger among non-mothers and skilled people, making the lack of family’ friendly policies or a ‘skills gap‘ unconvincing explanations.” [Financial Times, “US statisticians are in the dark over the 20 million working-age Americans who don’t want a job”]. As I’ve been saying, for years. “It’s something else that we can’t quite grasp yet.” As I’ve been saying for years. Of course, if the human beings thrown on the scrap heap through  the vicious and unconscionable neo-liberal technique of throwing people out of work to regulate the economy mattered, as humans, we would have known the answer to this question long ago. “We” were “grasping” other stuff, I guess.

Ag: “The agriculture downturn has dragged US farmland prices lower for a 23rd successive month, and taken sales at farm equipment dealers to historically low levels – and with little hope of improvement for now” [Agrimoney]. “The comments followed the release on Thursday by irrigators maker Lindsay Corp of results showing a surprise fall into a quarterly loss, while earlier this week, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers reported an 12.7% drop in US tractor sales last month.”

Europe: “Update ECB Coeure: Stress Urgency of Completing Banking Union” [Market News]. ” Departing from the text of his prepared remarks to a conference in Berlin, [European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure] said, ‘I would like to stress the urgency of completing the banking union.’ …  Coeure’s impromptu comment came after the EU leaders dropped references to completing banking union in the concluding statement of Thursday’s summit in Brussels.”

Honey for the Bears: “Rail Week Ending 10 October 2015: Recession In Rail Continues” [Econintersect]. Since I’m a Maine bear, this confirms my priors.

Honey for the Bears: “September 2015 Sea Container Counts Show Trade Recession Continues” [Econintersect]. Note the divergence between loaded in and loaded out in the handy charts [Mosler Economics].

Honey for the Bears: “Deflation is highly problematic for banks… Even with conservative loan to value ratios of the collateral, a drop in collateral values nonetheless reduces a banks reported capital. In theory, that means if the banking system needs an 8% capital ratio, and is comfortably ahead at 10%, with conservative loan to value ratios, a 10% across the board drop in assets prices introduces the next ‘financial crisis’. It’s only a crisis because the regulators make it one, of course, but that’s today’s reality. … And the reduction in ‘borrowing to spend’ on energy and related capital goods and services is also a strong contractionary bias” [Mosler Economics].

Honey for the Bears: Nobody understands the market for treasuries [Across the Curve]. Some damned thing in the algos:

A year later, the Treasury Department still doesn’t fully understand what happened during those 12 minutes. In a report released in July and produced in coordination with four other agencies, Treasury laid out a reconstruction that included enough analysis to impress even some high-frequency traders who had spent months on their own trying to piece together the events of the day. But the government couldn’t come up with a full explanation of who or what triggered the price swings. More troubling, the report laid bare just how little regulators understand about the daily workings of the Treasury market, which has changed drastically over the past decade through technological innovation and the rise of electronic speed traders.

Belated National Poetry Week entry:

Fear & Greed Index, October 16, 2015: 46 (-5); Neutral [CNN]. Last week: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed).

Imperial Collapse Watch

“The Pentagon’s ‘Concurrency Myth’ Is Now Available In Supercarrier Size” [Foxtrot Alpha]. “In effect, what you end up getting is not only a major unknown for the Gerald R. Ford when in combat situations, but also a major issue when designing sensitive sub-systems into other carriers in the class.” Will Lieutenant-General Van Riper please pick up the courtesy phone?

“McCain: Aircraft carrier program wasted $4.7 billion” [The Hill]. Well, it’s not a waste if the money goes to the right people. More McCain: “Finally, the department must study alternatives to the aircraft carrier to ensure we are getting the best capability while most effectively allocating our scarce resources.” A bit late for that, eh? Reminds me of one of my favorite bits of humorous dialog:

INTERVIEWER: Admiral, how will we know that the aircraft carrier is obsolete?

ADMIRAL: When it fails in war.

One of these days we’re going to lose one of those things, and that will be that. 

The first comprehensive portrayal of the CIA rendition program’s inner dynamics from beginning to end [Revealed]. Maybe. I still think the numbers are higher, and all are not accounted for in any case.

“Obama To Continue Airstrikes On Hospitals In Afghanistan Beyond 2016” [Duffel Blog].


“Human teeth discovered in southern China provide evidence that our species left the African continent up to 70,000 years earlier than prevailing theories suggest, a study published on Wednesday said” [Agence France Presse].

Prussia’s Greatest Human: Alexander von Humboldt [New York Review of Books].

Class Warfare

“5 Shocking Ways The World Is About To Change” [Cracked]. Despite or because of the source, very interesting! And then there’s this:

“How Harvard Fights Unions: By Conceding the Union’s Most Basic Claims” [Corey Robin].

News of the Wired

William Gibson interview: “It seemed to me that midcentury mainstream American science fiction had often been triumphalist and militaristic, a sort of folk propaganda for American exceptionalism. I was tired of America-as-the-future, the world as a white monoculture, the protagonist as a good guy from the middle class or above. I wanted there to be more elbow room. I wanted to make room for antiheroes” [Paris Review]. Classic from 2011.

“Researchers find neural switch that turns dreams on and off in mice” [Berkeley News]. Well, REM sleep as a proxy for dreams. I’m very leery of using the word “switch” in an organic system.

“When people talk about ‘disruptive technologies,’ they’re usually thinking of the latest thing out of Silicon Valley” [WaPo]. “Arguably, one of the most disruptive technologies of the last century is the refrigerator.” And appliances build on the grid, and indoor plumbing, nineteenth century achievements…. 

Internet of things: “The first thing I discovered is that these devices are not as simple to use as advertised” [New York Times]. “Maybe all these connected-home gadgets aren’t ready for the home. And maybe this is a job that should be left to the professionals, like painting your house or rewiring your outlets.” All so I can unlock the house from my cellphone when I have the key in my pocket?

“The Web Authentication Arms Race – A Tale of Two Security Experts” [SLaks.blog]. In Socratic dialog form. Really fun!

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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 (OregonCharles):


Another lovely photo from OregonCharles; this is a cyclamen.

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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. DJG

      Indeed: William Carlos Williams, Financialized.

      Although the original is even more sly, and elegant, in its own peculiar way.

  1. Jim Haygood

    “Politics won’t stop Chelsea Clinton’s friendship with Ivanka Trump”

    It reminds one of the Bush family’s friendship with the Hinckley family (whose son John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan) back in Odessa, Texas.

    One might complacently assume that NYC’s Sullivan law would restrain Chelsea and Ivanka from ill-advised gunplay. But in the opaque world of eastern gun control, celebrities live by different rules than little folks.

    1. optimader

      Ivanka used Chelsea as her wingman when cruising the NYC bar scene.
      There’s a McMurdo Station saying along the lines of ” the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”

    2. Nigelk

      You mean to tell me a daughter of inherited wealth is friends with a daughter of rich, powerful people (who is also the wife of a hedge fund guy)? In America? ::Clutches pearls::

      “There’s a BIG CLUB…and you ain’t in it.”


    3. NOTaREALmerican

      I’m not really sure why this is an issue. Normal people (those without morality OCD) can be friends regardless of their parents mental problems. Or, conversely, both of them might be “adults” (defined as: living happy duplicitous lives) in which case they could also be friends.

  2. Daryl

    “Providing that the wording…”

    What a wonderfully redundant sentence! “Providing that it does what we want it to…”

  3. Vatch

    Yesterday I posted links to four pro-TPP editorials, and the links that people can use to write letters to the editor (LTE) protesting against the TPP and the editorials. If you send a letter via email, they usually expect your home address and a daytime phone number to be included. Here are some more deluded editorials. If you live near one of these newspapers’ circulation areas, please write to them. If enough people write, they might print one or two of the letters, and members of Congress sometimes pay attention to letters to the editor.

    The Chicago Tribune


    LTE: ctc-Tribletter@tribune.com

    The Dallas Morning News


    LTE: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/send-a-letter/

    The Boston Herald


    LTE: http://www.bostonherald.com/about/herald_history/2012/12/send_letter_editor

    The Oregonian


    LTE: letters@oregonian.com

  4. Pavel

    Re: that “internet of things”… do we really need to unlock our doors with our iPhones (when their battery had died out), or let our refrigerator know when it’s time to buy more milk?

    I don’t understand this obsession with linking every single breathing moment and choice of our lives to the internet (and thence to the NSA, by the way).

    The same with Apple Pay and similar e-payment schemes: do I want every coffee or drink or sandwich or magazine I purchase entered into a giant DB along with my location at the time?

    Madness. And when the electromagnetic storm or whatever takes place — do you really want to count on your smartphone to get into your apartment?

    1. Daryl

      > Madness. And when the electromagnetic storm or whatever takes place — do you really want to count on your smartphone to get into your apartment?

      Ah, that’s why you need the Apple(TM) Crowbar. For only $549, featuring a sleek and stylish design that is sure to impress your neighbors as you use it to bypass the security of the Apple(TM) Door Lock. Just make sure to sign and mail the appropriate form to the NSA so your visit can be logged in the absence of internet access.

    2. optimader

      or let our refrigerator know when it’s time to buy more milk

      Like ignoring a relentless GPS voice recalculating for a next exit. If you ignore the app. does it tell you its time to make buttermilk pancakes with the old milk?

    3. craazyboy

      I’m waiting for the shoe tying ‘bot that’s connected to yer Facebook page so all your friends will get an email notification and can see the cool video of yer shoes being tied in real time. Millennials* will love it, fer sure, and we are within our intellectual property rights as well, which is always a good thing.

      * craazyman too, I guess.

    4. craazyboy

      Obviously, none of this stuff is really for us. It’s for the Harvard (and Stanford) Underwear Gnomes. The final glorious step being “PROFIT!”

    5. Clive

      Thanks Pavel, you’ve given me a semi-legitimate reason to moan about my pet Internet of Useless Things rant topic, my so-called “smart” Nest (TM) Learning Thermostat. If only it was smart. Ignoring the creepy NSA spyware aspect to it, the supposedly clever things it should be capable of are so hopelessly inept that I think it must be some sort of Silicon Valley April Fools Day joke.

      Let’s start with the Tru Radiant feature, this is allegedly a software algorithm which “learns” how long the radiators take to heat the space and kick the boiler on earlier to reach the target temperature at the scheduled time. Well, that may be okay in the consistent California climate, but it’s clearly never had testing in the vagaries of a British Spring. After roasting in bed at five o’clock one morning, that was the first thing to be disabled.

      Then there was the bug which didn’t know about British Summer Time starting and screwed up the programme settings.

      Oh, and for fun, the vendor insisted on its own walled garden proprietary protocol despite there being several well developed open standards for building management. This means that my heating system won’t talk to my cooling system so if I am not really vigilant during the “shoulder months” (April, May and September here) the unpredictability of the Nest can end up it in its infinite wisdom starts the heating fighting the cooling.

      Finally, just when I could really use the unique selling point of the wall trinket, remote (Internet) activation of the heating if I’m out and we get an unexpectedly chilly day, the Nest will decide to get a sudden dose of amnesia and forget the wifi configuration and drop off the network.

      Internet of things, my arse.

      1. Synoia

        You underestimate the attraction and simplicity (and cost) of the old fashioned central heating in the UK. A removable woolly pully.

      2. Pavel

        ha ha Clive, happy to be of service!

        I use the internet (d’oh!) and in fact make my living off it, and use mobile phones in the most limited way. But I’m increasingly wary of being sucked in further, particularly due to the Surveillance Of Things that all these devices enable.

        I managed to live about 50 years without having all things connected and without walking down the street doing a videoconference or facetiming and suspect I can do another 50 (ha!) in the same way.

        As for the Nest and heating: my parents have for decades used mainly wood-fired stoves for heating; there is a particular primal pleasure to waking at 7 AM in a cold house and needing to light a fire. And the NSA won’t know when you lit it :)

        cheers everyone, and thanks to our NC hosts for the great discussions. (Y and L I’ll donate tomorrow!)

    6. Steve

      There has been a huge push to get people to want “the internet of things”; just think, your light bulbs will have Ethernet addresses! I certainly don’t know anyone who would buy this sort of idea.

      The real beneficiaries DO want iot. These are the people who are eagerly looking forward to all the info your iot devices will harvest. That information is worth big money.

      The goal, of course, is to get the rest of us to pay for it. None for me thanks, I’m trying to quit.

    7. Synoia

      Internet of Things: three points

      1. They are not simple.
      2. They are not secure from hackers.
      3. IOT (Internet of Things) is missing a few letters, a ‘d,’ a second ‘i,’ and an ‘s,’ naming those who promote this foolishness -> IdiOTs

      1. lord koos

        More importantly, the appliances (as well as cars and trucks) are not secure from government agencies. Let’s face it, most of the internet is now one big surveillance tool.

    8. different clue

      To study your habits better. To learn more about the minute-to-minute private you. For any old purpose you can think of.

  5. Brindle

    Common thread in the corporate media coverage of Clinton and also Biden is the near total lack of interest in what policies they will implement if they would become president. These journos and their employers are basically very comfortable with the status quo. The fact that the Sanders campaign is primarily issues driven is seen by them as a sign that he is not a serious candidate.

    I’ve noticed that in the few days after the debate that a Dem establishment meme seems to have arisen that Sanders supporters are cranky, old hippy, irrational types who now have to see the cold, hard reality of a triumphant Clinton. I’ve been around a few Sanders gatherings and there are more twenty-somethings present than old leftist codgers.
    The media’s overton window only allows certain signatures to recognized—-real structural change is not one of them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There is a simple trick.

        Normally, if you see just see straight ahead, you see through where the window is.



        But if you move the eye to the extreme right, to the right of the right window, you can see left by viewing it from an angle.

    1. cwaltz

      Speaking as an uneducated, bitter hillbilly woman from 2008 get used to it and learn to laugh. I’m sure that all of Sanders supporters will get to hear the equivalent of WWTSBQ(why won’t the stupid b-tch quit) so you might as well start guessing what your acronyms going to be now. :)

  6. allan

    Class Warfare: All Ur Bookz R Belong 2 Us

    Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court

    A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google’s massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law, rejecting claims from a group of authors that the project illegally deprives them of revenue.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York rejected infringement claims from the Authors Guild and several individual writers, and found that the project provides a public service without violating intellectual property law.

    One more formerly middle-class occupation that’s been destroyed disrupted.

    1. Vatch

      Apparently, intellectual property is only for giant corporations and billionaires. Monsanto’s seeds, Big Pharma’s drugs, and Disney’s Mickey Mouse trademark are all still protected.

      1. Jim Haygood

        If copyright terms were reasonable (as in the 14 years stipulated in the original U.S. copyright statute), most of Google Books content would be in the public domain, rendering the bulk of the controversy moot.

        Many out-of-print works that until now could only be sampled on Google Books now will be available complete. The question is, at what price. Google should take a clue from JSTOR and allow free access to a limited number of titles per month.

        1. DJG

          Fourteen years? So if you write a book and publish when you’re thirty, but sixty you’ve lost the copyright?

          Are there any other groups whose work you’d like to confiscate?

          1. Carolinian

            The absurdity of copyright law is demonstrated by the fact that Warner Brothers was asserting ownership (just thrown out by the courts) of Happy Birthday to You, a song written in the 19th century. Then there’s the distant relation to James Joyce who was trying to charge scholars who were doing academic papers on his works. Under current law the owner of a copyright may wind up being a corporation practically as large as Monsanto–long after the author is dead. Whether or not 14 years is too short, the scale has been tipped way in the other direction.

          2. Jim Haygood

            Copyright law was intended to strike a balance between rewarding authors with a term of exclusivity, and enriching the culture by enlarging the public domain.

            Granting exclusivity for life of the author plus 70 years means that nothing published in our lifetimes will ever be in the public domain before our deaths. That’s confiscation on a grand scale.

            1. Vatch

              I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think the 70+ years of copyright duration was changed by this ruling. From the article:

              Chin found Google’s scanning of tens of millions of books and posting “snippets” online constituted “fair use” under U.S. copyright law.

              So perhaps Google is still prohibited from posting the entirety of a book, unless that book is quite old and out of copyright.

              1. Carolinian

                They never did publish entire books that were under copyright although i believe they did index them so that people could find out where an item was and then buy the book or get it from the library. Google would show a couple of pages and then leave out a section and then show some more pages.The author’s guild (not everyone–some authors didn’t agree with the suit) claimed even this was a violation of their rights. The suit was not about copyright law itself or its terms. It was about what constitutes fair use.

          3. jgordon

            Under the current regime few people actually have any feeling of respect for copyright law. Instead there is contempt, contempt for the system and contempt for the copyright holders.

            I’m absolutely convinced that rampant internet piracy is at least in part a subversive movement to undermine copyright. Copyright holders have bungled by taking things as far as they have.

      2. Carolinian

        Ditto to JH. The court made the right decision unless you think “fair use” is an invalid concept.

    2. Massinissa

      People keep saying that even if non-creative jobs are stolen by robots, that there will still be a need for creative people.

      Apparently Google is going to turn the former paying creative profession of Authors into basically being hobbyists just like current fan fiction writers. Theyre all going to have to do some other thing for a living…

      If authors can be replaced by the internet, what cant?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        So far, only human billionaires exist.

        No robot billionaires or billionaire robots yet.

  7. James Housel

    RE: Imperial Collapse Watch

    Thanks to the shoutout to Lt. Gen Riper. In case anybody missed the reference…


    Playing as “The Iranians” in an elaborate war game, he wiped the US Navy off the ocean in a matter of hours. Carriers are SO WWII.

    Of course they stopped the games, changed the rules, and, happy ending, we won!

    1. James Levy

      The Japanese had the same problem twice. They wargamed the Pearl Harbor strike and although the raid smashed the US Pacific Fleet, the results included the loss of 3 of the 6 Japanese fleet carriers and a concomitant number of aircraft. The actual attack cost the Imperial Navy 29 planes. So when they wargamed Midway and also lost 3 carriers, the umpires went back and changed the results. The second time was a charm–the IJN lost 4 carriers at Midway. So wargaming can be a tricky thing. Unless you have an incredible physical and technological preponderance of force (think the US attacking Iraq in 1991 and again in 2003) random factors, as Mr. Spock would say, can weigh in your favor (or, as Dr. McCoy retorted, “In plain non-Vulcan English, we got lucky.”).

  8. New Deal democrat

    One thing that the FT article on prime age labor force participation rate is clear on, is that the primary reason is *not* discouraged workers, who they explicitly state make up only 2 million of the 22 million persons age 25-54 who are not in the labor force.

    The Census Bureau breaks down the reason that persons are not in the labor force between child care, disability, discouragement, education, and other. All we need to do is find out how much each of these has changed between 1999 and the present, and we have our answer.

    One thing worth noting is that by age 44, over 80% of women are mothers. Thus the total increase in the number of mothers of minor children who have left the labor force is almost twice the number of non-mothers of prime age who have left the labor force, and it is also roughly the same number as people who report that they dropped out due to being discouraged.

    Note also that the US is the only country where the number of prime age women in the workforce has declined since 2000. On the FT graph, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

  9. fresno dan

    One of these days we’re going to lose one of those things, and that will be that.


    “Then, a week before the signing of the treaty, one of the nation’s biggest investment banks went broke. Its traders had used inside knowledge of US policy to take huge positions in derivative markets that would pay off once regime change took place in Tanzania. The possibility that the US might lose had never occurred to them, and the unhedged risk left them hopelessly in the red. Bankers hurried to Washington, only to find that printing trillions of dollars for a bailout when the dollar was already in freefall was not an option. The following Friday, after markets closed, a grim-faced executive from Goldman Sachs announced that her firm was bankrupt and would go out of business.

    So…its a fairy tale with a happy ending?

    1. Massinissa

      I hate Goldman Sachs more than the next guy, but am I the only one who remembers how the collapse of Lehman and friends in 2009 hurt real people more than it hurt the executives at Lehman and the other TBTFs?

      1. JTMcPhee

        So Obama (shorthand for neoliberals posse 2.0) and Bush League and the Fed “did the right thing?” Sure looks like a sad excuse for “promoting of the general welfare…”

        Why do I get echoes in my head of “Keep the troops in Afghanistan remember the poor little school girls Taliban”? Must just be the PTSD that can be triggered by stress…

        Or probably I am just reading the posts all weird and wrong. Double double negative reflexivity.

        1. Massinissa

          I never said that Obama or Bush did the right thing with the bailouts. Im just saying that a Goldman collapsing would not be without its consequences for the real economy, just like with the Lehman and Washington Mutual collapse in 2008/9.

          My family was badly hurt by the 2009 crisis. My father is an architect, and the construction industry was hit harder than perhaps any other industry by the event. My father, a senior architect in his 50s, was out of work for 16-18 months or so.

          Im not saying Bush/Obama handled it correctly. I think they should have nationalized Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, if not permanently then temporarily as Reagan did with Continental Illinois bank when it collapsed.

  10. Hacker

    First off, if you live in an apartment and an electromagnetic storm knocks out devices down to a battery powered lock, then you are going to have a lot more problems than getting back into your apartment. Now if you have a house, you simply don’t need the electronic locks on all the doors, just the one most often used. The convenience of remotely unlocking the door for a service technician, or setting a temporary code for the neighbor feeding the pets, is much better than getting halfway to the weekend getaway and remembering that you didn’t put the key out.

    Of course, this stuff is all tech, and if you aren’t good at tech, then you both can’t judge your risk to know that you should still carry a key to the back door, and you can’t fix it yourself when it does what complex tech will always do, which is fail.

    Now I didn’t bother reading the article yet, but I can tell you that having my “weekend getaway” connected to the Internet is very useful. As I head there to spend the weekend practicing my gardening and preparing to have permaculture orchard some year, I can turn on up the heat so the house isn’t 50 when I arrive after fighting the traffic from the city (where the jobs are). In the summer I can check the weather station on site to see how much rain fell right there at the hose so I know how much watering to do. I can also get accurate temperature readings in the fall so I can see how cold it got at night during the week and judge the frost hardiness of plants, or how well microclimates helped protect others. In the winter I can turn on the exterior lights and look at the camera and see how much snow is on the measuring stick from anywhere.

    Of course, I’m sufficiently good at tech that I have a well paying job in the city to pay for the gadgets and am comfortable doing my own electrical work, so I can and set it all up myself and troubleshoot when it breaks. I’m also very keyed in to Greer’s “collapse now, before the rush” and only use the gadgets to deal with the discontinuity of still being in very high demand for my skills in the city while needing to prepare for the future at the “weekend getaway”. So I have regular old rain gauges, thermometers and keyed locks, just in case.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Better have weapons appropriate to perimeter and area defense too.. The city is not THAT far away… And one hopes you have your local militia set up too…

    2. low_integer

      Understanding ‘tech’ is not that big a deal, imo. All it entails is learning about already solved problems. Granted, some are complicated. I like how you mention “I’m also very keyed in to Greer’s ‘collapse now, before the rush'” after detailing a bunch of stuff that contradicts that theme. Perhaps you could build a robot to do the gardening for you. You could control it from your smartphone and watch it on your surveillance camera.

  11. 3.17e-9

    The HuffPo article on the “odious DWS” wasn’t that critical, starting with the headline suggesting that she is a convenient “scapegoat” — a hardworking one at that. And maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see any mention that she was a national co-chair of Clinton’s 2008 campaign. Pretty critical bit of info, you think?

    Meanwhile,Huffpo is doing damage control on the post-debate polls. Their current lead story announces “new poll results” showing that Democrats favor Clinton over Sanders 55-22. They also say that HRC picked up supporters after the debate.

    Somebody must have had a come to Jesus with Arianna.

    1. Carolinian

      You have new poll results in scare quotes. Do you think they are making them up? Besides YouGov it seems like it should be time for some other “state of the race” polls to be coming out.

    2. nippersdad

      That poll is already taking some heat in the intertubes comment sections. Apparently someone actually read the fine print and found that fifty percent of those who voted didn’t even watch the debate (question #15). Instead, they got “the news” that Clinton had won from the headlines and then just regurgitated it upon demand. The poll sample also skewed conservative (question #21). Questions 16 and 17 are interesting too in that they seem to have Clinton doing both the best and nearly the worst (only Webb beat her for worst if one excludes the nobody category) in the debates at the same time.


      Not really a poll reader, but this looks like a frail reed to be hanging on to.

      1. Carolinian

        Instead, they got “the news” that Clinton had won from the headlines and then just regurgitated it

        Does that change the result? Whether they are supporting Clinton because the media said to think that way or because they watched the debate the result is the same. This is how the media shape elections. A lot of people are just barely paying attention, particularly this far ahead.

        It is just one poll. Others are needed before jumping to conclusions.

        1. nippersdad

          “This is how media shapes elections”


          I’m just pointing out that people are already onto this in comment sections, just as they were wrt the mismatched headlines yesterday (Sanders won the online pols vs pundits saying that Clinton won the debate). You get enough of the media shooting itself in the foot like this and a meme is born. One which may not meet their expectations.

          1. 3.17e-9

            Nippersdad, thanks for the additional info.

            I’m not sure what “scare quotes” are, but I put “new poll results” in quotes because the article (and the survey) cherry pick the data to make it appear that HRC has a huge lead, contrary to the post debate polls, which they dismiss as “focus groups.” They also interpret the data in a way that is not supported; e.g., they assume that someone who has a “more favorable” view of HRC after the debate is going to support her. That wasn’t the question. And that’s in addition to the basic assumption that perception of who “won” translates to votes/support.

            Lastly, if you examine how they got their percentages. They used only the registered Democrats who watched all or part of the debates — all 218 of them, out of 1,000 survey respondents. You could do the math, but in the end, it provides very little hard information.

            It’s very clear this was all skewed to favor Hillary and, if nothing else, make the media look less idiotic for proclaiming her the hands-down winner when public opinion was the opposite. If you didn’t read Yves’s superb analysis, I highly recommend it.

            1. Ed S.

              And not to pile on — but if you read through the results, the 55% really is cherry-picked. It’s an internet “opt-in” survey. That 55% is 55% of 217 people (IOW 120 self selected people)

              The numbers from question to question don’t tie — 1000 people surveyed, 45% watched or saw clips of the debate (only 15% actually watched the entire debate). 45% of 1000 is 450. But in the “Who won” (asked of the same group), n=489. Umm, where did those extra 39 people come from?

              Propaganda — not a poll.

              1. JTMcPhee

                The essence of horror, says Stephen King, is implacable and indefatigable enmity of a personified force hugely more powerful and tricky and destructive than us poor fleshly bleedable mopes. The Narrative could be a good creature-subject for a Stephen King franchise…

            2. Carolinian

              I read the HuffPo story and it seemed to me they were simply presenting the results of a standard poll. Of course polls don’t mean much at this point anyway but polls of the general public or likely voters probably mean more than polls taken just after the debate. What proportion of the voting public, for example, even watched the debate? It isn’t representative.

              Obviously, perhaps too obviously, I’m not a big Hillary fan but I don’t see the big conspiracy.

            3. nippersdad

              You are welcome! I’m not a poll reader, as I said, but this really looked off to me. Especially the part where they polled a largely conservative audience. I have been reading that such as Rove and the Coultergiest have long wanted to run against Hillary. No surprises if their audience would want her to look good.

              I read Yves analysis yesterday and it was really good, as usual, as was yours and Ed S.’ analysis of this poll. Thanks for showing that is was more than just a visceral feeling on the part of myself and others elsewhere.

          2. Carolinian

            The fact that some people are turning to the media to tell them what to think is not the same as saying that the media is conspiring to tell them what to think. I’m sure most of those MSM pundits just dig Hillary and assume the public does too. After all she says her biggest enemy is Iran. This time it’s personal (God help us).

            Justin Raimondo explains why Sanders lost, if he lost. Hillary is a raving loon and Sanders didn’t point that out.


            1. nippersdad

              “The fact that some people are turning to the media to tell them what to think is not the same as saying that the media is conspiring to tell them what to think.”

              But that is exactly the point; they have deliberately created a mediawide echo chamber. For example: Yesterday HuffPo et al were trumpeting that Sanders had lost and the online polls disagreed. They ALL then tried to trumpet this new survey today to end debate in Clinton’s favor. The survey, as beautifully analyzed by both 3.17e-9 and Ed S., here, clearly show that the new poll is no more scientific than were the pronouncements of the pundits and the online polls.

              Who are you going to believe? Those who actually watched the debates, those who are paid by multinational conglomerates to report on them or yet another skewed poll disseminated by yet another multinational conglomerate?

              Re: Raimondo. I think he gives Bernie far too much credit. I have the distinct impression that Sanders really doesn’t pay much attention to foreign affairs; that he is way out of his depth wrt them. I think he is trying to wing it, and it shows.

              1. Carolinian

                The phenomenon you are talking about is not exactly new. Could George W. Bush have been elected if the press hadn’t been on his side up to and including the big steal in Florida? I’m just not convinced they’re really in Hillary’s corner. Which is certainly not to say they are for Sanders. He has an uphill battle.

  12. allan

    Former AG tells the hippies to STFU and stay out of things they’re not `conversant’ with:

    Holder Defends Record of Not Prosecuting Financial Fraud

    At Wednesday’s event, Holder continued: “It’s an easy thing for people who are not a part of the process” to “ask questions,” he said. “It pisses me off, on the other hand,” for people “not conversant” in the process to “somehow say that I did something that was inconsistent with my oath or that I’m not a person of integrity.”

    “I’m proud to be back at the firm,” he said. “It’s a great firm. And I’m proud of the work I did at the Justice Department.”

    No truer words have ever been spoken than that last sentence.

    1. nippersdad

      Spoken like a man who would both defend a corporation from the ramifications of killing its’ own workers whilst in the private sector AND one who would consistently fail to enforce human rights laws pursuant to trade deals whilst in the public sector.

      I think the jury is in; he has no integrity, however much it may pain him to hear. His actions are too consistent to ignore.

  13. Jim Haygood

    Barack “No Hospital Unbombed” Obama ups the ante on his splendid war crime:

    A vehicle containing U.S. personnel “destroyed potential evidence” on Thursday by forcing its way onto the ruined site of a hospital bombed by American forces in Afghanistan, the charity said.

    Three military officials confirmed to NBC News that an investigative team traveled to the site, but none could say for sure what type of vehicle was used.

    The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, speculated that it was an APC (armored personnel carrier), and one official said it was likely German, given the area.


    Destroying incriminating evidence is standard procedure since OKC and WTC. It’s also a federal felony.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Our military is so good at just making stuff up. There are whole commands dedicated to dissimulation and managing the “embedded scribes” and the rest. And Pat Tilman was a War Hero, said the General’s Ass, until his corpse confirmed another “friendly fire” kill or something more sinister. http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/10791530/ex-army-ranger-speaks-first-former-nfl-player-pat-tillman-shooting-says-fired-fatal-shots, and a longer version, “Where Men Win Glory” by Jon Krakauer.

      Biggest takeaway for me is “total command fkkkup due to the bureaucratic structure and the idiocy of sending GIs to go patrol to recon and draw ambushes and run over IEDs in places where corruption thrives and the opaque mission is Forever War and no accountability.” Lots more stupid where that operates, of course…

      1. JTMcPhee

        And how about them Branch Davidians down in Waco, speaking of sending in the tanks? At least they were shooting back at the Fibbies… Stupid, on all sides.

        1. ambrit

          The Waco siege raised all sorts of questions about the overreach of the Executive branch. How did an Army unit come to ‘lend’ an armoured vehicle to the Feds? This was illegal at the time. The ‘tank’ went around knocking holes through the sides of the main building of the compound. Then some stooges throw incendiary tear gas canisters into a wooden building with newly made draft holes. So, add wood, air, and incendiary devices, and you get a Holocaust.
          The shooting started in earnest when the Feds tried to storm the compound. Prior to that, relative quiet. Janet Reno was in charge. Check out her history. It’s not good. (What is it with Bill and women?)

          1. JTMcPhee

            I’ve got little use for armed idiocy by people like Koresh, but I’m well aware of your points about what the feds did in killing all those people. Another “mistakes may have been made,” justified as so many Oooah! America cheerleading netbabblers do with events like attacking the Kunduz hospital and drone murders by saying “Well, they shouldn’t have been there or doing what they were doing or what our Authoritative Rulers say they were doing.”

            One wonders, since arrogant self-justified deadly violence is such a common feature of human behavior, how to “reign in” (pun intended) the little subcultures wearing the Cloaks of Invisibility, Impunity, and Unaccountabilty…

  14. David Mills

    I love Gibson, met him twice in Vancouver. Cool guy. An excerpt:

    She would boil down her own cancers and feed them to them, rococo custom….

    Chrome, Burning Chrome

  15. ProNewerDeal

    Another BigMedia pro-Hellary bogus meme I’ve been reading/hearing is “obviously Hellary is the most experienced Pres candidate”. It is stated as fact, without any evidence, without any comparison of Hellary’s resume to other candidates.

    Hellary’s experience includes being a 1-term US Senator, Sec of State. Perhaps the Hellary pundits would claim being the Informal Chief Advisor during the Bill Clinton Presidency. Hellary’s actual record sux, given her warmongering Sec of State record given the Libyan Failed State, voting for the Iraq War, the failed right-wing Reaganeseque policies during the B Clinton Admin such as killing Glass Steagall, killing AFDC “Welfare” without any Federal Job Guarantee for when the Private Sector “Job Creators” sux ballz at Actually Creating Jobs, e.g. 2008-now, etc. Hellary Reagan VI’s actual policies are likely to be neoliberal economics & warmongering, although it is difficult to tell, given she is as much as Flip Floppa, Etch-a-Sketcha as the worst Flip Floppaz in the tradition Bill, Mint RawMoney, 0bama, etc.

    Sanders experience has been a US Senator & US Rep for years, has “Executive experience” as Burlington, VT mayor. Sanders is very principled & consistent in social democratic policies. For example, Sanders supported gay marriage consistently before it was popular in polls. Sanders AFAIK does not have massive Hellaryesque Failures in his record, like Iraq War vote or killing Glass Steagall.

    So AFAIK Sanders is clearly more experienced & has a superior track record than Hellary.

    Do yall agree? Is BigMedia just lying as Hellary propagandists, or am I missing some idea here?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Seems to me the $10 billion Sanders got for community clinics outweighs all of Clinton’s legislative achievements, if any.

      * * *

      Try “Clinton” or “SoS Clinton” as opposed to “Hellary.” You’ll find more people read to the end of your comments.

  16. low_integer

    I didn’t get a chance to comment yesterday on the ‘Srinivasa Ramanujan and the number 1729’ link, however his work is cited in Andrew Wiles 2003 proof of Fermat’s last theorem (FLT), originally postulated (and perhaps proven yet never shared or found, as he left a note indicating he had, found after his death, though this is considered to be unlikely) by Pierre de Fermat in approx. 1637.

    After detailing relevant work by Euler, Gauss, and others, the very first mathematician to be cited in the ‘Modern Methods of Proof’ section of the history and overview chapter is Ramanujan, and I believe Wiles used elliptic curves to achieve his proof.

    Wiles’ proof of FLT is very interesting, although most of it is beyond my current understanding, as really, it represents the pinnacle of a lifetime of learning by a very capable and dedicated mathematician. It consists of over 100 pages of complicated math, and is a very significant milestone in the field of ‘pure’ mathematics and number theory. One day when I am less busy I would like to understand it properly, however I expect this would take years of dedicated study, if not decades. It is available as a pdf online if anyone is interested.

  17. Bubba Gump

    I have worked in “smart home automation interconnected IoT etc etc” for many, many years, implementing the sort of functionality that is now becoming mainstream for the most wealthy of individuals and families. At the highest end, some of us are extremely security concious and are specifically using the fact that we are not connected to some server in CA as a selling point. However, I don’t think most of them get it yet.

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