2:00PM Water Cooler 8/31/2016

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I’m afraid today’s Water Cooler is a bit of a debacle; as it turns out, the history of ObamaCare 2013-2016 was not the easy layup I thought it would be, and I must leave for an appointment that I cannot miss or postpone.

Let me pose this question, specific to this post but also of great generality:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

Talk amongst yourselves!

Until tomorrow….

* * *

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 (KS):

Crocosmia

* * *

Readers, I know we’re approaching Labor Day weekend, but if you can, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.

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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.

207 comments

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Nothing is better than something – when one’s meditating.

      “Empty the mind. Nothing is there. Let go of that something.”

      In life, there are times when something is better than nothing.

      The dogma here is, let’s not be too dogmatic.

      1. abynormal

        A verbal trap; after the end there is nothing, since if there were something, the end would not be the end. Nonetheless, we are always setting forth to meet…, even though we know that there is nothing, or no one, awaiting us. We go along, without a fixed itinerary, yet at the same time with an end (what end?) in mind, and with the aim of reaching the end. A search for the end, a dread of the end: the obverse and the reverse of the same act. Without this end that constantly eludes us we would not journey forth, nor would there be any paths. But the end is the refutation and the condemnation of the path: at the end the path dissolves, the meeting fades away to nothingness. And the end—it too fades away to nothingness.
        Octavio Paz, The Monkey Grammarian

    2. Socal Rhino

      As I was walking up the stair
      I met a man who wasn’t there
      He wasn’t there again today
      I wish that man would go away

    3. Tommy Corn

      If this world is temporary, identity is an illusion, then everything is meaningless and it doesn’t matter if you use petroleum, and that’s got me very confused.

    4. Emma

      There’s just a thing.
      It tears us apart over what something or nothing should tear us apart!
      That’s just the thing about it.
      And when we’re unable to accept that something and nothing can be entirely compatible and complementary, it feeds on itself and grows.
      So beware!
      Beware indeed…..
      “Beware the Jabberwock” thing!

    5. Kokuanani

      In contemplating either a Hillary presidency or a Trump one, nothing is DEFINITELY better than “something.”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a nice one.

        I know someone who, when he has nothing on his mind, worries.

    6. dk

      if one can assume, one must first be. so there is no need for the assumption.

      a further assumption may resolve to nothing, but if it does, that may be due to the nature of the assumption.

      we can say that nothing is as plentiful as something.

      1. Tom Bradford

        I can’t find the quote because I can’t find the book, but I believe that in his “A Short History of Time” Stephen Hawking suggests that there is currently something because minus one and plus one – anti-matter and matter – are in the process of cancelling out. Once the process is complete there will not be something.

    1. hemeantwell

      ?, nice song, but If you’re referring to the antidote, crocosmia lucifer. Oddly, and fwiw, I think a passion flower is much larger and has a stamen configuration that fantasy-prone Christians thought reminded them of the cross and so then tried to use it to remind everyone else of the cross.

        1. abynormal

          where have U been? please do this more often : ))

          “-What is nothing? I impetuously asked.
          -It is what you can see of your eyes without a mirror, was the answer.”
          Patti Smith

  1. JohnnyGL

    In the absence of strong Water Cooler leadership, we’ll self-organize!!! :)

    It’s one poll, but ouch…..that’s substantial losses among core groups of support…

    “Notably, Clinton’s popularity among women has flipped from 54-43 percent favorable-unfavorable last month to 45-52 percent now; it’s the first time in a year that most women have viewed her unfavorably. Clinton’s favorable-unfavorable rating has also flipped among those with postgraduate degrees, from 60-39 percent in early August to 47-51 percent now. She’s now back to about where she was among postgrads in July. She has gone from about an even split among moderates, 50-48 percent favorable-unfavorable, to a more lopsided 41-56 percent now. Among liberals, she’s dropped from 76 favorable to 63 percent favorable. And among nonwhites she’s fallen from 73 to 62 percent favorable, largely due to a 16-point drop, to 55 percent, among Hispanics.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/poll-clinton-unpopularity-high-par-trump/story?id=41752050

    1. sleepy

      It seems the public views Trump as a screwball and Clinton as some inevitable vile slagheap that’s slowly oozing its way to town. She’ll still probably win but I suspect her poll numbers will continue south.

      1. Higgs Boson

        HRC and her worshippers don’t care, as long as she wins in November. “Let them hate, so long as they fear”

      2. Arizona Slim

        She’ll win and misinterpret the victory. She will think that it’s a mandate and it will be anything but.

        I still predict that she’ll serve less than a full term before a combination of legal and health problems and substance abuse force her to resign.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many people (women, Hispanics, etc) are asking, more and more often, “What do I have to lose?”

      So it seems.

      1. cwaltz

        Most of them were going to lose this cycle no matter what.

        It’s not like Hillary really cares about most women, latinos, etc, etc.

        We really should do something about the corrupt duopoly or hey we could just keep doing the same thing over and over.

  2. Roger Smith

    It was extremely eerie watching Clinton deliver neo-fascist rhetoric in Ohio while an alert flashed across the screen announcing Brazil’s Senate’s official removal of Dilma Rousseff.

    C-Span claims to offer transcripts, but they do not always work.

    Some highlights:

    – Hacks will be viewed as acts of war
    – the VA will not be privatized (healthcare and education… meh those are okay)
    – Quoted Reagan within the first 5-10 minutes
    – We need to reevaluate our nuclear presence… to make it stronger. (!#$*)
    – We are the best #MERica

    1. Jim Haygood

      Hacks will be viewed as acts of war

      Rather evilly brilliant, in the Report From Iron Mountain vein.

      Terrorism as a permanent, amorphous threat is producing some cultural fatigue. Good to have a War on Hackery on the back burner, since that will never end either, and blame can be attributed freely (as the evil Russians have already learnt to their sorrow).

      1. Paid Minion

        The “Global War on Terror” ™ is now a member of the standard vocabulary of Hucksterism.

        Joining phrases like “Welfare Moms”, “Illegal Aliens” “FreeSh#tArmy”, etc.

      2. cwaltz

        Someone should remind Hillary that presidents don’t get to declare war.

        It’s so nice to know though that she intends to carry on her proud tradition of foreign nationals having to buy their influence instead of getting it for free by way of hacking.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the Patriot Act views hacks by persons or non-governmental agencies as acts of terrorism. I’m sure I’ll be corrected if this is wrong. I also had the impression the Patriot Act treats some of the kinds of sabotage commonly used in the labor movements of the last century as acts of terrorism.

      Obama’s beefing up of our atomic arsenals and Hillary’s push to out-hawk Obama mixed with the footsie our military and diplomacy seem inclined to play with Russia and China is extremely frightening. This 27th of October I’ll drink a shot to Vasili Arkhipov and make a little prayer he didn’t save the world in vain.

      1. different clue

        If defeating Clinton is becoming more important, then voting for Trump becomes more necessary.
        I am getting more inclined all the time to vote for Trump. A vote FOR Trump counts twice as hard aGAINST Clinton as a vote for some beautiful Third Party.

        Every ballot is a bullet on the field of political combat.

        1. Carla

          I’d rather vote for someone I want and lose than vote for someone I don’t want and “win.”

          Remember if enough of us vote for the same third party it could get federal matching funds in 2020. That might be important.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            2020? To pick over the dry bones left by Bush Term 5?
            Some people say a Trump presidency would be a disaster. No. We already have a disaster.
            Trump is a ridiculous blowhard buffoon. He’s also against more nation-building, questions NATO/Putin war mongering, thinks the mainstream media is completely corrupt, wants to put the ACA out of its misery, and actually opposes globalist trade deals. I couldn’t care less if he said mean things about Rosie O’Donnell.

            1. cwaltz

              You know the Republicans could have picked a better candidate.

              Oh wait they didn’t do that because their intent was to hand this to Hillary.

              I’m so tired of hearing how “I have to” do things after a small band of oligarchs chose the candidates I have to choose from.

              I don’t have to vote for Trump the buffoon and I don’t have to vote for Clinton the corrupt and I can continue to not vote for either of the duopoly. As long as you continue to play the lesser evil game you can be assured the oligarchy is going to continue to pick bad and worse for you.

              I’m opting out of the sick and twisted game the GOP and Democratic Party have going on and those of you who continually vote for the bad choices you are given can blame yourselves for the outcome(instead of projecting the outcome onto everyone who refuses to eat the oligarchy’s dog food.)

              1. Jim Haygood

                ‘their intent was to hand this to Hillary’

                The 8-year partisan alternation pattern structurally imposed by Amendment XXII indicates that it was the R party’s “turn.”

                Their intent was to hand this to Jeb! or Ted! or some other vetted insider to claim the R party’s 8 years of spoils.

                As the howls of protest and invective from Ted! made clear, Trump’s nomination was totally unplanned. Trump punked the R party. And they still haven’t gotten over their butthurt.

                1. cwaltz

                  Oh they left him in place because he is the perfect buffoon to run against Queen Hillary(after all they sat and debated whether or not to make him the nominee ad nauseaum) and he gives the double bonus of once he loses being able to allow them to wail, gnash their teeth and fundraise against the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. Don’t kid yourself Clinton is interposable and will serve her purpose just as well as Ted! or Jeb! for the oligarchy. It’s Her turn.

                  This is a game and the electorate are chumps that just keep playing it.

              2. ChrisPacific

                I was phoned last week for a survey. I am not an American and don’t live there, although I did at one point for >10 years. Nevertheless, one of the survey questions was “If you were voting in the US presidential election, would you vote for Trump or Clinton?”

                Up until that point I had thought that I didn’t know, but I heard myself reply without hesitation: “I wouldn’t vote for either of them.” And the moment I said it, I knew it was true.

          2. HotFlash

            No matter who you vote for, or don’t, the US will end up with either Clinton or Trump as prez, barring a catastrophic event, eg, death of one or t’other.

            So, you not only have to decide how you can live with who you vote for, but you have to think about how you will live with who you get. Maybe it won’t be good enough to say, “Not the president of me.”

            1. cwaltz

              They’re both horrible choices and I intend to prepare myself to have to live with either of them.

              I also intend to remind people that vote for team bad or team worse that THEY are the ones who force this game to continue by insisting that only a Democrat or Republican can win.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              There are two types of ethical demand here.

              1 One does one’s best to elect the best candidate

              and furthermore

              2. One does one’s best to prevent the worst candidate.

              To me, I believe it’s not ‘either or,’ but that, the second demand is an addition call of duty…going beyond the first.

              “What have you done to stop the Foundation?”

          3. different clue

            It won’t matter if we don’t live that long due to World War Clinton with Russia. If you think Clinton poses no more danger of nuclear annihilation than Trump would, then your logic is impeccable. But if you think a President Clinton poses a real and non-trivial risk of global nuclear extermination in a way that a President Trump just simply would not, then you might decide to defer “vote your dreams” for now, and “vote your survival” for Trump so you can live long enough to collect the Big Jackpot in 2024.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I am confronted with the question: “Where were you when they laid the Foundation for the Thousand Year Reign?”

          “Did you do nothing to stop the Foundation?”

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          Both Trump and Hillary are frightening alternatives for President — though Trump seems “the lesser of two evils”. Hillary is starting to appear like a female anti-Christ — Damiena Thorn or Nicole Carpathia — the more I learn about her. Regardless which one wins I tend to agree with the commenter here who suggested one of the two VP candidates would be the acting executive.

          I am tempted to vote Green just on the possibility the Green Party might become a viable second party — especially if matching funds become available. But I can’t get past viewing the Green Party as a clueless amalgam of underemployed ex-philosophy students.

          Writing-in Sanders is tempting — but I don’t trust write-ins will be counted or reported in any meaningful way. As a last resort I can leave President an undercount and register a “No!” vote in what seems the best possible way to do that.

          I will vote. None of the relatively good choices choices offer much to realistically hope for and the bad choices are scary bad and horrifyingly bad.

          1. Ulysses

            “But I can’t get past viewing the Green Party as a clueless amalgam of underemployed ex-philosophy students.”

            This made me chuckle, since many of my very best friends are actually underemployed Phil majors, along with a healthy cohort of underemployed art historians, medievalists etc.

    3. timbers

      Hacks will be viewed as acts of war

      Translation:

      Russia will be viewed as an act of war

      How inspiring and uplifting but than there’s “Putin is Hitler” and other masterful strokes from America’s top diplomat Sect of State Clinton. She’s already earned her Noble Peace prize in Obama’s tradition so let’s preemptively give it to her now and continue that precedent.

      What will Clinton do when she realizes she’s picking on someone who can fight back?

      BTW very interesting analysis from MoonofAlabama regarding Turkey’s invasion into Syria is not so good for US regime change in Syrian with hints this is calculated btwn Russia/Turkey/Syria. Had assumed Turkey’s invasion was quite bad for Syria/Russia now I’m not sure.

      http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/08/a-deal-over-syria-that-left-the-us-out.html

      1. Paid Minion

        The GWOT and Russia are meant to focus the rubes attention away from the fact that:

        -We are rapidly turning into a Banana Republic

        -We have no Bananas. Or that 95% of the bananas we do have are owned by 1% of the population, who use the money and influence generated by having all the bananas to make sure the government doesn’t interfere with the goal of getting 100% of the remaining 5%.

        – Our half-azzed GWOT has totally fooked things up in the Middle East. Turkey, Iran and Russia are closer to the problem than we are. Doesn’t surprise me that they might cooperate in order to straighten out the mess.

        And if they can make our doofuses in Washington look like ineffectual idiots while doing it, so much the better.

        Looking back…….for a long time, even here in the USA, the US has always backed the landowners/business owners/oligarchs/kleptocrats, when confronted by any opposition wanting a more even “distribution of the pie”.

        And since they can’t say “We are going to war so US Multi-Nationals can keep their stuff/increase their market share/gain access to raw materials”, the talk is all about “Liberating the (fill in the blank) people from the (name of opposition dictator) regime.

        Dictators turning machine guns on striking coal miners = “Repression of worker rights”

        US law enforcement/US Army turning machine guns on striking coal miners = Suppressing Commie-inspired domestic unrest.

          1. fresno dan

            I loved that too!
            We are faced with a dystopian society of ersatz bananas – soylent bananas are people!

            1. different clue

              “bananas” made out of GMO cornmeal sweetened with high fructose corn syrup to taste sorta like bananas, sorta. And wrapped in smoothed out corn husks to peel back like banana peels.

              What to call them? Cornanas? Banornas?

              “Yes, we have no banornas. We have no banornas today.”

              1. Faye Carr

                Commercial bananas of largely a single cultivar which is already under threat from a particular disease and could potentially wipe out all the Cavendish bananas we currently choke down.

                On the bright (lemonade making side)… climate changes have altered my growing zone upwards, we can grow several different varities (yum, Ice cream Mysore bananas) in our back yards! Fingers crossed, we can grow coconuts in 5 more years!

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        “Picking on someone who can fight back”
        Um, America doesn’t do that, we just smash the defenseless ones. And we still lose, contrary to the Hollywood, media, and MIC myth-making. In the main theater Putin would smash NATO in an afternoon, everywhere else it’s CIA Keystone cops, own goals, and drone bombs on kids in hospitals.

        1. cwaltz

          Hillary is exceptionally stupid apparently.

          She’s been itching for a fight with Russia. There is no other explanation for Ukraine or Syria. The big ol moneypot that they can collect from war is just too tempting.

          1. fajensen

            I think there is: Saudi Influence.

            It is clear that the US have been destroying mostly secular regimes in the middle east and the US is really keen to wipe out Iran too. The US administration is also quite happy to let Saudi use US weapons and logistics support to massacre people in Yemen too.

            In Saudi logic, secular regimes are simply Apostates, muslims that have left the faith and therefore must be killed. The second “must be killed” category are Heretics – Shia muslims (Iran, Yemen), Sufis (the Gulen movement), pretty much any muslim who is not Wahabbi or Salafist is one the list. Christians must be offered to convert first.

            Killing the Jews will bring on Armageddon, so, the US will do Israel last.

            Hillary & Co is very close to the Saudis, financially and in terms of advisors. It is not beyond belief that “… in return for helping to protect the faith, some small favors and compensation is provided ….”.

            To me, the religious angle is the best way to get the current US foreign policies to make any sense, there is simply not any real US commercial interests in Bosnia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan … which is what used to be the reason for “regime change”.

            1. cwaltz

              Oddly enough, Wikileaks says Syria was Israel’s baby, not Saudi.

              Not that I think Saudi Arabia is an innocent little angel in all this. Just that in the instance of Syria and Ukraine they weren’t the instigators, oddly enough.

              I also think that resources and the darn pipeline have something to do with Ukraine too. Our region insists it has to break the Gazprom monopoly that Russia has.

              1. fajensen

                I hope so. Because ordinary “smash & grab” imperialism is the less scary option, we know how to deal with that so to speak.

                With religious nuttiness, it’s unpredictable and limitless. Before we suspect it, some loons will get the idea that if they could just get the end of day prophesies lined up to come early, they will be beamed straight up on golden rays of light and don’t have to wait their turn in purgatory – or whatever it is they imagine will happen.

                Bit like the “singularity cult” – We don’t have to fix anything now, cause we will be uplifted to computers soon ;-p

      3. ian

        Tin foil hat time:

        Maybe all the all the fuss over Russian involvement in our election ( false news, hacking the DNC, planting leaks and the latest from Comey, hacking the vote totals ) is to prepare us for election results being disputed, should it be necessary (to wit – the wrong person won).

      1. different clue

        It was saner heads in the DoD who restrained Obama from starting a war against Syria. I realize many leftists are bigoted anti-militaritic anti-militarites. That bigotry causes such left wing anti-militaritic bigots to miss some events and trends of opinion within the military.

        1. curlydan

          I am well aware of the fact the DoD already constrained Obama on Syria. I actually am a fan of the Department of DEFENSE, yet the fact that we have a $700B war budget shows there are many in the military and Pentagon who are far from sane.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            What a frightening thought, when even the Curtis LeMay types from the Pentagon are yelling at the Chanel-suited war criminals not to push the button.

            1. Redwall Abbey

              Mrs. Clinton couldn’t cram her fluffy body into Chanel. Coco refused to make her garments bigger than the equivalent of an American size 6 years ago…😈

  3. Eddie Green

    Since we can all agree that there is nothing, then it follows that nothing must be something to a lesser degree.

    1. voxhumana

      The infinite universe is described as expanding into a void that surrounds it. So we are part of the lack of something… explains Trump and Clinton, I suppose…

      1. jsn

        Explains many things, like the personality cult that formed around HRC’s absence of personality.

    2. Ulysses

      “I am the spirit that negates.
      And rightly so, for all that comes to be
      Deserves to perish wretchedly;
      ‘Twere better nothing would begin.
      Thus everything that that your terms, sin,
      Destruction, evil represent—
      That is my proper element.”

      Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  4. diptherio

    Switzerland to vote on “circular economy strategy”

    Reason enough for the Green Party of Switzerland to call for a fundamental change in the country’s economic system. Its initiative gathered about 110,000 signatures within the required 18 months and was handed in to the authorities in 2012.

    It calls for a “circular economy strategy”, including measures to adopt new product regulations, encourage recycling, and promote research and innovation, thereby reducing the country’s ecological footprint by two-thirds.

    The proponents want Switzerland to play a pioneering role, promoting a sustainable model for the economy, including a tax policy tied to the use of natural resources. The government is asked to define sustainability targets both for a short and medium term and present a progress report every four years.


    What a Caring Organization Looks Like

    A Facebook friend (we’re barely acquaintances really) asked this question on Friday:

    “What do you think are the most critical things (I’m talking specific processes, policies, and structures rather than values) that make up non-competitive and more collaborative and caring workplaces? Spaces where people are encouraged to really praise and acknowledge someone else’s work rather than hide someone else’s contribution, where people want to spend time on the collective good rather than next personal gain, and where the often invisible and gendered work of caring and ‘organisation culture’ is prioritised and publicly valued as critically important? What are some practical things you can implement, aside from the destruction of capitalism? Ideas, you wise group of souls?”

    I’ve spent the last couple of years working with an incredible bunch of people to build an organisation that is exactly like that: caring, collaborative, and non-competitive, a space where we praise and acknowledge each other, where the work of caring is shared equally, regardless of gender.

    Cripes I am a lucky dude, it rules. It is a total privilege, so I’m trying to figure out if there’s something about our organisation that we can share with others.

    It’s a subtle thing, so I’m not sure if I can totally nail it down with words. Let’s try something…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Re: Caring Organization — I notice no one felt up to addressing your call for words to nail down characteristics of a Caring Organization. A worthy quest but an area in which I have no experience. You are indeed a lucky dude.

    2. cwaltz

      I think in capitalism it isn’t easy to create an environment that fosters teamwork rather than competition.
      We’re almost programmed from a young age to be competitive.

      I would imagine an open door policy would be important to foster communication. You’d also want to provide feedback regularly to team participants. I’d also suspect transparency would be crucial so the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

      In the outpatient military pharmacy I worked at NMCSD we had teams called process action teams. We were given an objective and then asked to brainstorm solutions. The group would come up with solutions using the parameters of the objective and then we’d determine how best to move forward. There would be a group leader there to facilitate but much of the process was collaborative.

      Actually when I think about it the military was really the closest I’ve ever come to the type of environment you are talking about. Mentoring, workshops that work on team building or character development, evaluations every 6 months(although to advance you did get rated against others that were in your field and your rank), a command member whose sole focus is troubleshooting and conflict resolution with an open door policy. If it weren’t for the rank structure that sometimes subverts the main idea that everyone’s contributions matter equally I’d say it was set up to be fairly collaborative. Of course I believe what really matters the most is LEADERSHIP fostering the idea that everyone’s contributions matter. Bad leadership causes conflict and conflict usually stymies collaboration.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Hillary, liberator of Libya, preaches to the American Legion choir in Ohio:

    The Democratic presidential nominee called the United States an “exceptional nation,” and said the country has a “unique and unparalleled ability to be a force for peace and progress.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/clinton-stress-american-exceptionalism-ohio-41764569

    Recalling in their fevered minds the legendary Reagan Democrats who took the bait approved of a “walking tall” pitch, the Clintons believe millions of silent majority, Dick Cheney Democrats will cross the aisle to keep America great.

    Dick: “I’m with her!
    Hillary: “Who knew?

    http://tinyurl.com/jvaqryp

      1. cwaltz

        It’s very similar to the whole entire democracy at the end of a rifle thing we’ve been doing now for over a decade.

        Our exceptionally unique brand of freedom to choose as long as you choose as we wish if you will.

        Go America!

    1. fresno dan

      “unique and unparalleled ability to be a force for peace and progress.”

      LOL! ……Wha!/! she was serious!? Your sh*tting me!

        1. OIFVet

          Dammit dude, give some warning before posting links to pictures of Two-Face. That creature always gives me nightmares…

        2. different clue

          Someone should do a smooth combo face-morph of those faces. Hillary Clincheney.

          Perhaps someone could do a three-way face-morph of Clinton, Nixon and Cheney.
          Behold! The face of Hillary Milhous Clincheney.

          1. aab

            I don’t have a link handy, but I have seen many Hillary Cheney photo mash-ups, and Hill Nixon, too. Not a three-way. That’s something that should definitely be labeled as sensitive viewing.

      1. John Wright

        Time for Hillary to channel Patrick Henry, somewhat, and speechify:

        “Give them liberty or give them death”

        Pat’s saying was too self centered and HRC will fix it for posterity.

        1. abynormal

          ‘FORCE’ them liberty or ‘FORCE’ them death…feexd it

          “as long as there are
          human beings about
          there is never going to be
          any peace
          for any individual
          upon this earth (or
          anywhere else
          they might
          escape to).

          all you can do
          is maybe grab
          ten lucky minutes
          here
          or maybe an hour
          there.

          something
          is working toward you
          right now, and
          I mean you
          and nobody but
          you.” ~Bukowsk

    1. ewmayer

      Ha – now *that’s* a concession speech. At the risk of running the Wrath of Lambert, would that Bernie had been similarly brass-balled.

      1. cwaltz

        Heh, maybe some of us figure the wrath beats the alternative to sitting through another presidential cycle of sternly worded letters and petitions from the left.

        *sigh*

        It would be so much easier if I could get an HMO approved frontal lobotomy than I could either join the GOp lynch mob who thinks everything is some liberal plot or be hunky dory with representation that tells you to your face that they’ve rigged the system to thwart you ever actually having an individual that you actually want representing you.

  6. shinola

    – Hacks will be viewed as acts of war

    So that’s why every hack mentioned in the MSM has some reference to “Russian hackers”

    War pre-justification.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Are we already at war?

      Are some people being committing the offense of dereliction of duty, even as we speak?

      1. Paid Minion

        All I can say to the Russians (if they are actually involved) is…….keep it coming.

        Maybe when people get it through their thick heads that neither party is working in their best interest…….that, in fact, they are lackeys for the 1%er class, using the government to take money out of their pockets and transfer it to the pockets of the 1%ers……… they will wake up and put all of the democrats and republicans in the unemployment line.

        The reality is (after spending the last five-ten years trying to show my acquaintences and friends the reality vs. the propaganda)………..I’m not holding my breath. In fact, I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s futile jesture. There is just not enough time in the day to research and disprove the BS.

        Take “Welfare Moms”. No amount of facts can convince them that:
        A) they probably exist somewhere, but are the exception not the rule,
        B) They aren’t getting as much ” free money from the government” as they think they are, and
        C) The nationwide total of money collected by welfare moms is a rounding error, compared to the amount of welfare collected by the 1%ers.

        While at the same time, wanting to totally ban abortion. Thus using the government to force women to have kids, then denying any financial responsibility for them once they have had them.

        (Can’t wait until they start putting guys in jail, because “Masturbation is Murder”). Or banning vasectomies, because it interferes with “God’s Plan”.

    2. Benedict@Large

      So we will now go to war with individuals? Or do we just declare war on whatever country they’re operating out of?

      Does it count who’s getting hacked? Or what? I know Hillary thinks her private e-mails are best kept private, but do we go to war if someone hacks them? Or do we only go to war because she mixed some state secrets in with them? It quickly gets confusing. Or what if Hillary hacks Bill to see if he’s still messing around with Monica? Does who we go to war against depend of whether he is or not?

      And I know Hillary is pretty pissed that the DNC got hacked, but do they count? Because a political party is more like a club, and is certainly not a part of the government. And what about corporations? You know they’re going to want to get in on this fun. Corporate espionage? We’ll declare war on Microsoft at the request of Apple?

      We’re going to need a whole branch of government to figure this all out. I was going to suggest Homeland Security, but they’re pretty busy right now bugging the reporters’ interviews at the DNC lawsuit.

      1. ColdWarVet

        I think we’ve decided to just declare “War!” as a generalized existential mental state, and leave the specifics to the commanders and combatants, wherever they are.

        As our football warriors are wont to chant as they head into action these days, “OK everybody, War! on three: one, two, three… WAR!!!”

        1. Ulysses

          “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation.”

          — George Orwell

  7. Tertium Squid

    More bad news for Theranos.

    On the way back from looking at redwood trees last night, I went past the Theranos corporate headquarters and the parking lot was practically empty. Whatever they are doing to turn around the company’s fortunes, staying late isn’t one of them. (Of course for a lot of companies in the Bay Area, leaving at 8 is actually leaving early.)

    The headquarters looks like an isolationist compound – opaque windows, fortress design. Synergizes nicely with their famously secretive nature. The only person visible to outside view was the security guy in the front lobby.

    Here’s a wonderful quote from Elizabeth Holmes, posted on Theranos’ website:

    “The minute you have a backup plan, you’ve admitted you’re not going to succeed.”

    Not only that, you can get to “not going to succeed” a lot faster WITHOUT a backup plan.

    I’m guessing it’s all over but the indictments.

    1. Roger Smith

      I love the cyclical defeating nature of that quote. It is a great example of how useless one liner quotes can be.

    2. Katharine

      It isn’t even true. Having a backup plan is admitting you might not succeed. Denying what is necessarily possible before the fact seems like a sign of poor thinking at best.

    3. RMO

      She sure puts a lot of people in their place with that gem: pilots who practice engine failure drills, engineers who insist on redundant load paths for critical structures, those who put their seatbelts on when driving a car, those who put lifeboats on ships, smoke detectors and sprinklers in buildings etc. – bunch of freakin’ losers!

    4. fajensen

      Surely Mikael Shkreli can buy Theranos at the bankruptcy auction and turn it around. They have internet access in jail don’t they (at least in the kind of jail that people like Shkreli ends up in)?

  8. Tom Moody

    Today’s news: Digby is over at Salon taking down Matt Drudge — and this is 2016, not 1998.

        1. efschumacher

          Remember how the trilogy goes:

          Foundation
          Foundation and Empire
          Second Foundation

          Buckle Up. we’re in for a bumpy ride.

  9. Bunk McNulty

    “It’s not the yellow curtains. Not curtain rings. nor is it bran in a bucket, not bran, nor is it the large, reddish farm animal eating the bran from the bucket, the man who placed the bran in the bucket, his wife, or the raisin-faced banker who’s about to foreclose on the farm. None of these is nothing…. And it’s not a motor pool in Dib (where the mudmen live) and it’s not pain or pain or the mustard we spread on the pain… What a wonderful list! How joyous the notion that, try as we may, we cannot do other than fail and fail absolutely and that the task will remain always before us, like a meaning for our lives. Hurry. Quickly. Nothing is not a nail.”

    (From ‘Nothing: A Preliminary Account‘, by Donald Barthelme)

    1. cwaltz

      Wait, what is this Green Party that she appears to hail from and which season of Celebrity Apprentice was Stephanie Anderson on(since we all know the Greens only run celebrity candidates?)

      *tongue firmly in cheek*

  10. Tertium Squid

    I thought this was satire but it probably isn’t. Poe’s Law I guess. There’s a Graduate-School-of-Business-View From-The-Top hashtag:

    #GSBvftt

    Have fun!

    My favorite:

    design is something embedded in the product that romances the consumer

  11. Jim Haygood

    Now he’s in for it:

    Child welfare officials are investigating Anthony Weiner in the wake of The Post’s exclusive report that he sent a lewd selfie that showed his young son lying in bed next to him, sources said Wednesday.

    The Administration for Children’s Services has launched a probe into the disgraced ex-pol’s care of the boy, a city government source said.

    Agency protocol requires a home visit within 48 hours, and ACS showed up at Weiner and estranged wife Huma Abedin’s Union Square apartment building on Tuesday, a worker there confirmed.

    http://nypost.com/2016/08/31/childrens-services-launches-anthony-weiner-probe/

    It’s Clintonville, Jake.

    1. sleepy

      I always pondered rhetorically why the local DC protective services didn’t open a case against Obama and his fitness as a father to two young girls when he had that 16 yr old US citizen murdered by drone a few years ago. If I killed some innocent teenager I strongly suspect that the local child services would have some interest in investigating my fitness to raise my two young grandchildren.

    2. fresno dan

      Jim Haygood
      August 31, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      MUST RESIST urge to make naughty insinuation regarding “probe” and “weiner”
      This is serious,….all Weiner was trying to do was probe… a busty brunette ….hmmmmm… for sexting…..

      Failed miserably….

      1. sd

        Ack. He’s a creepy pervert – full stop – makes you really wonder what went on in the the Weiner Abedin household and just how creepy she must be.

  12. Joe Hunter

    “http://www.defenddemocracy.press/whole-game-containing-russisa-china/

    A response to Hillary Clinton’s America Exceptionalist Speech:

    1. America Exceptionalist vs. the World..
    2.Brezinski is extremely dejected.
    3.Russia-China on the march.
    4.”There will be blood. Hillary Clinton smells it already….”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        To me, the key to our economic hegemony lies in our reserve currency hegemony.

        They will have to continue to supply us to get the currency.

        Unless we have injected too much already (no scholars have come forth to say how much trade deficits are necessary for the reserve currency to function as the reserve currency, and so, we have just kept buying – and I am wondering if we have bought too much and there is a need to starting running trade surpluses to soak up the excess money – just asking, I don’t know the answer).

  13. RabidGandhi

    Peace for our time:
    Colombia: Three Peasant Activists Assassinated on First Day of Cease-Fire [TeleSur English]

    [Colombia’s ombudsman Fabian Laverde said] violence against campesinos was the root of a number of causes.

    “First, the national government refuses to recognize the existence of paramilitarism. Second, the complaints from the social movements made about situations of threats or concrete actions against residents of these territories have been completely ignored,” he said.

    File under: Why Is It Only Called Violence When We Fight Back

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why does this not happen in other countries?

      Is it because those other countries are happier or more just?

      Or is it because their Public Security agents are more ‘efficient’ at suppression, physically or psychologically?

  14. nobody

    There had to be something so that the nothing that is there could be perceived and felt and known.

    1. Buttinksy

      One must have a mind of winter
      To regard the frost and the boughs
      Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

      And have been cold a long time
      To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
      The spruces rough in the distant glitter

      Of the January sun; and not to think
      Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
      In the sound of a few leaves,

      Which is the sound of the land
      Full of the same wind
      That is blowing in the same bare place
      For the listener, who listens in the snow,
      And, nothing himself, beholds
      Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

      “The Snowman” –Wallace Stevens

      1. Buttinsky

        French poet Paul Valery was even more to the point: “God created the universe out of nothing, but the nothing shows through.”

  15. Walt

    “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

    This is the concluding sentence of Martin Heidegger’s 1929 Univ. Freiburg inaugural lecture and the opening line in his “Introduction to Metaphysics.”

    1. RMO

      Because if there was nothing rather than something, the Digital Underground could never have recorded “Humpty Dance.” Q.E.D.

  16. DJG

    Why is there something rather than nothing? So that there can be pizza, with a variety of toppings. (Except pineapple or Polish sausage, which are Dark Toppings.)

    Speaking of which, the question might be put this way: Just what is the likely difference between dark matter and the matter we seem to be part of, which is matter that has photons?

      1. DJG

        My favorite pizza, which I have been able to savor only in Italy, is topped with (some) cheese, squash blossoms, and anchovies. Squisita.

        And that is why there is something rather than nothing.

  17. clarky90

    “The Democratic Party is the party of Slavery, Jim Crow and Opposition (to abolition)”

    “The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln.- Freedom, Equality, and Opportunity” says Donald Trump

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFoM_eACYWI

    “Against All Odds” Rally in Everett, Washington 8/30/16 WA at about 20 minutes in speech.

    Hmmmmmmmmm? No wonder people are flocking to his speeches! You won’t read about it.

    1. kucha girl

      At the rally in Everett, Guiliani asked rally-goers to get out their phone & text $$ to a certain address.

      I was shocked, what about “I’m funding my own campaign, I don’t want your money.” Guiliani said something about how it is about gaining a big number of people who are donating. Donate $1, if you want to, but just do it.

      I was trying to think of the reasoning behind this. It was certainly counter-messaging. I would suppose it is data-mining. Many people have multiple email addresses … it is easy to create an anonymous email address just to get a Trump rally ticket. I thought of it myself, to avoid spam. But most people only have one cell-phone number. Trump thanked Susan Hutchinson, head of the the state Republican Party. I would imagine she was asking the Trump campaign to get as much info about attendees as possible. That would explain why Guiliani and not Trump said this.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Investment psychology. If you invest in a candidate now, you might work to get them elected, even if it’s a little bit.

        Obama had little pledge cards back in 07/08. Campaigns want people to commit or they can leave.

      2. Pat

        There may be another explanation. Clinton and the DNC have been running pretty insistent fund raising campaign over the last couple of weeks as focused on number of donors as on money. Clearly this was another version of Clinton’s popularity over Trump.
        As they are asking for $1 on the last day of this reporting period there could be a desire to head that one off at the pass.
        Or they could want your info, and to head that off at the pass.

      3. clarky90

        Sources and amounts of Donald Trump campaign Funds
        https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/candidate.php?id=N00023864

        Individual Contributions $56,486,064 (45%)
        – Small Individual Contributions$37,236,701 (30%)
        – Large Individual Contributions$19,370,699 (15%)

        PAC Contributions $17,700 (0%)
        Candidate self-financing $52,003,469 (42%)
        Federal Funds $0 (0%)

        There is a similar page listing Hillary Clinton’s Sources and amounts.

        Please, do not click on the following link if you are eating or have a delicate disposition.

        https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?id=N00000019

  18. Jane

    “Why is there something instead of nothing?”

    Because how else could there be a Thing 1 and a Thing 2.

    1. Tvc15

      Funny, thanks! Good to see her receiving a little public shaming for her disgusting greed, but I’m sure her $18mm salary will help her get through it. I bet she feels she’s earned every penny despite being able to set the price as she deems appropriate and selling a life saving product to a captive market. This egregious example of crony capitalism from a sociopathic CEO really sticks in my craw. Maybe it’s because I’ve been forced to buy 3 Epipen’s a year for the last 5 years for my daughter. The short expiration periods have always seemed slightly suspicious to me also.

      Anyway, if we can’t take their ill-gotten gains from them, then I’ll take more public shaming of these parasites.

      1. Roger Smith

        No problem! Sorry about your daughter and the need for the pens. I really hope you get some better options soon.

  19. clarky90

    “Juan Ramon Jiminez”

    Is it I who walks tonight
    in my room or is it the beggar
    who was prowling in my garden at nightfall?

    I look around and find that everything
    is the same and it is not the same…
    Was the window open?
    Had I not already fallen asleep?

    Was not the garden pale green?…
    The sky was clear and blue…
    And there are clouds
    and it is windy
    and the garden is dark and gloomy.

    I think that my hair was black…
    I was dressed in grey…
    And my hair is grey
    and I am wearing black…
    Is this my gait?
    Does this voice, which now resounds in me,
    have the rhythms of the voice I used to have?
    Am I myself or am I the beggar
    who was prowling in my garden
    at nightfall?

    I look around…
    There are clouds and it is windy…
    The garden is dark and gloomy…

    I come and go…Is it not true
    that I had already fallen asleep?
    My hair is grey…And everything
    is the same and it is not the same

  20. TomDority

    Nothing does not exist.
    One can not define nothing – as soon as it is defined it is no longer nothing.
    On the other hand, nothing exist in more abundance than something if ya consider all the space between the particles and subatomic particles etc. Iron is more nothing than something.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe, in politics, there is nothing like ‘like to dislike’ turned.

      Heaven’s rage.

  21. Lee

    “Nothing” is a category error. There can be no such thing as nothing.
    “Emptiness is being, being is emptiness.”

  22. rfdawn

    Why is there something rather than nothing?

    You make it sound like we have nothing to aspire to.

  23. Tnayrbak

    I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred

    Tom Robbins

    1. hunkerdown

      In the book, those two sentences were each written on one of two cave walls opposing one another, for a slumbering student to discover upon awakening.

  24. abynormal

    “If we get rid of all wishful thinking and dubious metaphysical speculations, we can hardly doubt that – at a time not too distant – each one of us will simply cease to be. It won’t be like going into darkness forever, for there will be neither darkness, nor time, nor sense of futility, nor anyone to feel anything about it. Try as best you can to imagine this, and keep at it. The universe will, supposedly, be going on as usual, but for each individual it will be as if it had never happened at all; and even that is saying too much, because there won’t be anyone for whom it never happened. Make this prospect as real as possible: the one total certainty. You will be as if you had never existed, which was, however, the way you were before you did exist – and not only you but everything else. Nevertheless, with such an improbable past, here we are. We begin from nothing and end in nothing. You can say that again. Think it over and over, trying to conceive the fact of coming to never having existed. After a while you will begin to feel rather weird, as if this very apparent something that you are is at the same time nothing at all. Indeed, you seem to be rather firmly and certainly grounded in nothingness, much as your sight seems to emerge from that total blankness behind your eyes. The weird feeling goes with the fact that you are being introduced to a new common sense, a new logic, in which you are beginning to realize the identity of ku and shiki, void and form. All of a sudden it will strike you that this nothingness is the most potent, magical, basic, and reliable thing you ever thought of, and that the reason you can’t form the slight idea of it is that it’s yourself. But not the self you thought you were.” ~ Alan W. Watts

    1. fresno dan

      No one seems to contemplate the billions, trillions of infinities prior to one’s own birth.

      How many squirrels have existed? Is there a squirrel today that is indistinguishable from a squirrel that lived 25 thousand years ago?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does a squirrel think about another squirrel from 25,000 years ago?

        What happens when every single living thing ponders over that question? Will it light up the sky?

  25. John Merryman

    Nothing is not a negative, but neutral. As it has no definition, consequently, it has no limitation or location.

    One aspect of reality has all these qualities; Empty space. Equilibrium and infinity are not physical and therefore don’t need physical explanation.
    Infinity is fairly self explanatory, as a quality of space, while equilibrium is implicit in time and distance contracting in a frame moving relative to the vacuum, in that the frame with the fastest clock and most extended physical ruler would be the frame closest to the equilibrium of space.
    So space is the ultimate freebie, as it needs no physical cause. All you need to start having something is a disequilibrium of the vacuum, i.e. vacuum fluctuation. These fluctuations will radiate to infinity, while contracting to equilibrium. Just as light radiates to infinity, while mass collapses to equilibrium, forming galaxies.

  26. Andrew Foland

    To answer the question:

    1. Because the laws of physics are neither C-invariant nor CP-invariant
    2. Because the universe evolves from an initial out-of-equilibrium state
    3. Because there are processes that violate baryon number conservation

    (The Sakharov conditions)

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks, Andrew. Been doing a bit of reading about Sakharov and thinking about a piece of art that would capture the essence.

      Re Lambert’s question: …“Why is there something rather than nothing?”

      Because either something was always there, or something can and did come from nothing. Puzzling in an existential sense when one considers the many comments here.

  27. ewmayer

    Some links hopefully of interest to fellow members of the commentariat:

    o Case-Shiller Home Price Index Declines 0.1%, Econoday Concludes No Bubble | MishTalk

    o U.S. traffic deaths rose 7.2 percent in 2015: Transportation Dept. | Reuters

    o FBI detects breaches against two state voter systems | Reuters

    I only downloaded the article to verify that it parrots the obligatory disseminate-on-all-channels evil Rooskies meme – it does.

    o California lawmakers pass rape bill inspired by Stanford case | Reuters

    o QE, End of the Private Sector? Japanese Government Now Largest Shareholder of 474 Big Companies | Wolf Street (complements the SNB link in today’s Links)

    o Death Panel Discussion: Obamacare Costs Skyrocket; When Does It Stop? | MishTalk

    o More U.S. counties to see Obamacare marketplace monopoly: analysis | Reuters

    o Social media adds to panic over ‘gunfire’ at L.A. airport: police | Reuters

    This sort of thing will soon become as commonplace as car alarms going off with nary a car thief in sight. But now instead of merely adding to the general noise/annoyance, we gonna shut down entire airport terminals for hours at a time!

  28. allan

    Nothing to see here, move on

    Obama Appoints Social Security Critic to Fix Puerto Rico’s Budget
    [DDay@TheIntercept]

    Andrew Biggs, an American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and architect of conservative efforts to cut and privatize Social Security, has been named by President Obama to a seven-member fiscal oversight board for the debt-ridden U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. That board, which will work out restructuring for over $70 billion in debt, has widespread authority to institute additional austerity on the island’s citizens, including potential reductions in public pensions. And Biggs appears to be the only member of the board that has significant experience with social insurance. …

  29. fresno dan

    https://promarket.org/wall-street-gods-work-even-anything-useful/

    So, what benefit does society get from all this secondary market trading, besides very rich and self-satisfied bankers like Blankfein? The bankers would tell you that we get “liquidity”–the ability for investors to sell their investments relatively quickly. The problem with this line of argument is that Wall Street is providing far more liquidity (at a hefty price—remember that half-trillion-dollar payroll) than investors really need. Most of the money invested in stocks, bonds, and other securities comes from individuals who are saving for retirement, either by investing directly or through pension and mutual funds. These long-term investors don’t really need much liquidity, and they certainly don’t need a market where 165 percent of shares are bought and sold every year. They could get by with much less trading—and in fact, they did get by, quite happily. In 1976, when the transactions costs associated with buying and selling securities were much higher, fewer than 20 percent of equity shares changed hands every year. Yet no one was complaining in 1976 about any supposed lack of liquidity. Today we have nearly 10 times more trading, without any apparent benefit for anyone (other than Wall Street bankers and traders) from all that “liquidity.”

    =====================================
    Thing of it is, the most thirsty never get a drink….

    1. polecat

      even the little people are able to ‘get some’ liquidity………

      ….it’s called the ‘Runs’ ………and most are prone to it …. after being subjected to a three-card Wall Street monte melt-down!

      soooo .. nothing in the bank, and nothing in the gut as well !

    1. JustAnObserver

      Not really if you extend “something” to include the Laws of Physics. Even the vacuum in which the fluctuations occur has a minimum energy i.e. something.

      1. Jagger

        Even the vacuum in which the fluctuations occur has a minimum energy i.e. something.

        Yes. And IIRC, when a field collapses, there is a minimal possibility that it can collapse anywhere in the universe which implies the field extends and exists everywhere within the universe. So there should be no space within the universe lacking at least the energy potential of a field collapse. No nothingness within the universe.

  30. Vatch

    Shouldn’t we first settle on a definition of “is” before we decide whether there is something rather than nothing? Hasn’t Bubba, the great successor to Plato, Aristotle, Nagarjuna, Shankara, and Kant, taught us anything?

  31. fresno dan

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/kaepernicks-true-sin/498122/

    It was in early childhood when W.E.B. Du Bois––scholar, activist, and black radical––first noticed The Veil that separated him from his white classmates in the mostly white town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He and his classmates were exchanging “visiting cards,” invitations to visit one another’s homes, when a white girl refused his.

    “Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows,” Du Bois wrote in his acclaimed essay collection, The Souls of Black Folk. “That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads.”

    Du Bois’s upbringing as a black child was, in some ways blessed, particularly for the time. He received a good education, he had white teachers who believed in his potential. Yet despite growing up in a white town, far from the bloody, violent turmoil of the post-emancipation South, he learned from childhood that he was different, that a wall yet lay between himself and the other white children. We cannot know who Du Bois might have been had he been raised in a mostly black town or gone to a mostly black school. What we do know is that growing up around white people, with opportunities other blacks did not have, did not make white supremacy invisible to him––on the contrary,the intimacy of his early relationships with whites helped shape who he was.

  32. abynormal

    “In the encumbrance of depression, your information-gathering system collates its intelligence and reports to you these facts: (1) there is nothing to do; (2) there is nowhere to go; (3) there is nothing to be; (4) there is no one to know. Without meaning-charged emotions keeping your brain on the straight and narrow, you would lose your balance and fall into an abyss of lucidity. And for a conscious being, lucidity is a cocktail without ingredients, a crystal clear concoction that will leave you hung over with reality. In perfect knowledge there is only perfect nothingness, which is perfectly painful if what you want is meaning in your life.” ~Thomas Ligotti

  33. Jagger

    If we define “nothing” as the absense of everything including energy/fields and physical atoms/physical particles, then “nothing” cannot produce something. Personally, I have trouble even imagining that “nothingness” actually exists within our universe. I suspect at least fields and field potential exists everywhere.

    So with that assumption, then there must have always been something or something would not exist.

    But then we have the problem with first cause: something must have a beginning. The problem arises because of cause and effect related to physical time. Physical time means everything has a chain of effect including a beginning and an end. So where did the first “something” come from?

    One potential solution to the problem is the assumption that physical time is a necessary component of our existence within this universe but not fundamental to all forms of existence. In other words, our universe has a beginning and end due to our experience of time but the ultimate source of our universe may be eternal lacking a beginning or end as we understand it.

    Assuming something must have always existed because nothing can come from nothing, then logic leads to an original, eternal source lacking a beginning or end. Using this logic, we can have a variety of forms of existence-some with and some without a beginning and an end. But the source must be eternal without beginning or end.

    Although from a different perspective, another possible answer is that “nothing” does not exist, so “something” must exist.

  34. TedWa

    Because nothing could not realize it’s existence. Only something could realize it’s own existence as well as the existence of the nothingness.

  35. Patricia

    Something rather than nothing re health insurance? Seems another occasion to use plebs’ complaints to further extraction. It isn’t working as well as hoped but the results are adequate. Rather than a step toward genuine health care, Obamacare is another bureaucratic/corporate tumor blocking us from Medicare-for-All. And while this tumor has been established, they’ve also continued fraying Medicare, diminishing its usefulness as a goal. Thus, they’ve added two more huge problems from before, when there was nothing.

    It seems TPTB are delaying as long as possible the work required towards a healthy society—doing less than nothing by continuing to wreck the things that remain. Perhaps they plan on waiting til after climate/economic collapse and die-off? The gov’t and oil companies, at least, have known what’s coming since the 70s. They’re not all stupid; some among them have thought it over and made plans. Likely there are a number of plans, and some in conflict, and all of them arrogant and foolish, but there there is something rather than nothing.

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