Links Thanksgiving Day 11/22/18

Readers, I hope your Thanksgiving is convivial!

Sperm whale found dead with 13 pounds of plastic in its stomach National Geographic

Goldman sued by Abu Dhabi fund over 1MDB FT

Danske Bank whistleblower says he was offered hush money City AM

Cash Rules Everything Around the Bond Markets Bloomberg

Stock-Market Margin Debt Plunges Most Since Lehman Moment Wolf Street (EM).

Texas Is About to Create OPEC’s Worst Nightmare Bloomberg

Stop Eco-Apartheid: The Left’s Challenge in Bolsonaro’s Brazil DIssent

Why Algorithms Suck and Analog Computers are the Future De Gruyter Conversations (DK). From 2017, still germane. “Tomorrow’s applications demand stronger computing powers at much lower energy consumption levels. But digital computers simply can’t provide this out of the box.”

Brexit

Theresa May seeks to resolve final blocks over Brexit deal RTE. May to return to Brussels.

Vote Leave loses legal challenge over Brexit spending breach Guardian

Who speaks for Northern Ireland on Brexit – Business bosses or the DUP? Belfast Telegraph

Will the Tories Sacrifice Theresa May to Survive? Foreign Policy. You can’t beat something with nothing…

What’s driving this French revolution? Unherd

North Korea

U.S. to scale back major joint military exercise in bid to keep North Korean nuclear diplomacy on track Japan Times

Syraqistan

Trump’s Amoral Saudi Statement Is a Pure Expression of Decades-Old “U.S. Values” and Foreign Policy Orthodoxies Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

Erdogan, MBS, Islamic leadership and the price of silence Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

China?

Apple Supplier Foxconn Signals Deep Cuts as Smartphone Demand Wanes South China Morning Post

Hong Kong democracy leaders go on trial over Umbrella Movement The Star

China’s Government Drove the Electric Vehicle Industry’s Rapid Rise, U.S. Think Tank Says Caixin

Why Japan finds coal hard to quit Nikkei Asian Review

India

How the rise of shadow banking fed India’s ‘clash of egos’ FT

Half of ATMs may shut by March on stricter regulatory norms DNA India (J-LS).

‘India Connected’: A new book looks at how the smartphone is changing the lives of Indians Scroll

New Cold War

Russian Diplomacy Is Winning the New Cold War Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation

Ukraine Crisis Deepens: Fresh Water Supply At Risk Awful Avalanche

Trump Transition

Roberts, Trump spar in extraordinary scrap over judges AP

White House approves use of force, some law enforcement roles for border troops Military Times

Filings Show Trump’s DOJ Chief Still Working for 14 Companies

Nick Ayers Is Rising Fast in Trump’s Washington. How Far Will He Go? NYT

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats need a bold agenda. Here’s what they should do in the first 100 days of Congress. Bernie Sanders, WaPo

Ocasio-Cortez backs Pelosi for speaker as long as she ‘remains the most progressive candidate’ CNN

Nancy Pelosi Revived Obamacare After Democrats Left It for Dead The Intercept

Nancy Pelosi and the Audacity of Identity Driven Hustles Ghion Journal

The Democrats’ White-People Problem Joan C. Williams, The Atlantic. Better than the headline.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Dirtiest Place in an Airport Is Not in the Bathroom Vice

Julian Assange deserves a Medal of Freedom, not a secret indictment USA Today

Imperial Collapse Watch

We’re Headed Toward Perpetual Conflict and Cataclysmic War Truthdig. As shown by military curricula.

Who Says Economic Sanctions Work? Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Class Warfare

After 20,000 workers walked out, Google said it got the message. The workers disagree. Recode

The IRS hired private debt collectors who are squeezing poor people and hurricane victims Quartz (DK).

Two US senators pushed the IRS to outsource its debt collection to private companies through this program: Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York who has hailed the initiative for bringing jobs to one of the poorest parts of his state. As if by coincidence, three of the four debt-collecting companies contracted by the IRS are based in Iowa and New York. They declined to comment on the program.

No doubt. Some days, it seems like the planet is owned and operated by the Harkonnens.

AP Exclusive: Gov’t questions unfair student loan practices AP.

“A 2017 study by the Government Accountability Office estimates that a typical borrower of a $30,000 student loan who places their loan into forbearance for three years — the maximum allowed for economic-hardship forbearance — would pay an additional $6,742 in interest on that loan.”

As above.

Countering the geography of discontent: Strategies for left-behind places Brookings Institution

Financial structure and income inequality (PDF) Bank of International Settlements

We’re getting taller and heavier. That’s not good news for food security or the planet Anthropocene

A Disaster of Our Own Making. The Atlantic

How Political Opinions Change Scientific American

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

134 comments

  1. Steve H.

    > A Disaster of Our Own Making.

    Janet & I were talking about plant life which requires fire to reproduce. Just think of that. An adaptation to an environment of such depth that fire is required for an absolutely primary existential function. It’s not optional, it’s a necessity.

    To build a house in such an environment and not make it fireproof, as in mineral, is folly. Subcortical folly.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      “Help Americans move to opportunity. The federal government should expand the availability of financial support for individuals who want to make long-distance moves to places promising greater economic opportunity. At the same time, federal policy should encourage states and localities to relax zoning restrictions and construct new housing units to increase the supply of affordable housing.”

      > Countering the geography of discontent: Strategies for left-behind places

      Reply
      1. Jessica

        Wouldn’t making it easier for Americans to move make it easier for them to leave the left-behind places and leave them even farther behind?

        Reply
        1. Joey

          Brownfield redevelopment, anyone? But the convenience of location, infrastructure and maintenance of current greenspace is notably countered by ‘progressive’ concern over lead paint to the point its financially prohibitive. Nevermind, pave the forests.

          Reply
          1. zapster

            Generations of brain-damaged children being infinitely preferable, I suppose. Or the federal government could just pay for the cleanup and be done with it, which is what progressives have suggested.

            Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Thanks. I read that one first.
          Makes brookings look like a mirrored room.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH4-hTCW59A

          the latter’s second bullet point, “access to capital”, would be welcome, otherwise it’s unimaginative.
          “just be us”.
          Ie tech.
          relatively successful for Austin and Dallas, beginning in the 80’s, but things have changed in 40 years.
          closer in to the urban cores, there’s been success with the ancillary tourism…resorts and dude ranches and vineyards…even eco-tourism, sort of uncomfortably along side hunting.
          but all that relies on discretionary income in the core and nearer periphery.
          and there seems to be a geographical limit.

          Reply
      2. anon

        “At the same time, federal policy should encourage states and localities to relax zoning restrictions and construct new housing units to increase the supply of affordable housing.””

        For Los Angeles, and probably other areas, this essentially means paving over every last bit of Open Space. Landing at LAX, LA looks like a concrete wasteland.

        Mayor Garcetti and others have already launched a campaign to fill in backyards. Many interpret this as an attack on R-1 zoning.

        Surface streets and freeways are already gridlocked during rush hour; some always so. At what point does the city become unlivable?

        https://www.fastcompany.com/40547826/los-angeles-bold-plan-to-pack-its-backyards-with-more-housing

        Separately, but relatedly, developers purchase existing housing stock, demolish, build larger replacements that occupy the entire lot, leaving no greenspace.

        https://urbanize.la/post/70-unit-apartment-building-replace-sunset-boulevard-bungalow-court

        Reply
      3. Iguanabowtie

        Decent diagnosis. Proposed solutions?
        -let them eat education
        -access to seedy ‘confession’ business loans originated in NYC
        -faster movie torrents
        -bribe a few purple cities with infrastructure & hope they turn blue
        -literally, depopulate flyover country with ‘moving incentives’

        Im suprised they stopped short of advocating helicopter drops of oxycontin. It’s articles like this that make people paranoid about birth control in the water supply.

        Reply
    2. Anon

      Paradise, CA was a working-class/retirement community with the average price of a home $200,000. (Incredibly “affordable” by NorCal standards.) Living near a forest that produces lumber is a price inducement to build a wood stud structure. (And California energy standards require high insulation values…something not cost feasible with “mineral” construction.)

      If you have seen the “fire tornado” spawned by these high-wind, high combustion fires the type of building construction is inconsequential. Devastation ensues no matter. The key element of these fires is wind-driven embers that cannot be contained by fire suppression (CalFire). These embers ignite your neighbors home which spreads to your house (since local fire departments aren’t available/accessible) and then the whole block burns to the ground. This Is What Happened in Paradise. The local pine trees are singed but standing and alive. Santa Rosa, CA housing developments (not in the forest) endured a similar fate last year during the Tubbs Fire.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        ‘something not cost feasible with “mineral” construction’ — Oh, it’s feasible, e.g. via foamed concrete (“aircrete”, etc) construction, but I expect the cost of such is substantially higher than wood framing. (And it seems steel-stud framing is also a lot more expensive – that actually surprised me.)

        Reply
        1. Jack Parsons

          A wood-frame single-story house is the most resilient structure against earthquakes. It twists easily during any shaking. More rigid structures need artificial twisting joints of some sort. A block of concrete, eek!

          Reply
      2. JP

        I live in the foot hill oak forest in california. There are currently 4 or 5 fires burning in the mountains behind me all within 10 miles. I live in the existing wood frame house that came with the property but I removed the stupid rustic shingle exterior and stuccoed and put on a metal roof with a layer of gypsum board underneath. I built a garage that is benched into the hillside with reinforced concrete wall and roof with another subtrainian room attached. I removed all the chemise growing around the house and planted grape vineyards to serve as a fire break and support my personal drinking habit. I have 11000 gallons of water storage and buried piping. The last 100 plus years of fire suppression in the national forest have led to an unhealthy stunted growth with an impassable tangle of fuel in the understory. It pretty much all needs to burn but if it all burns at once it is a catastrophy. I have always assumed that fire in this environment is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. My neighbors are nervous me, not so much..

        Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the type of building construction is inconsequential. Devastation ensues no matter. The key element of these fires is wind-driven embers …

        Yes, embers were why the houses burned and the trees did not. However, I believe that the building code community is looking into “ember resistant” approaches (ran a link on this from the LA Times a couple of days ago). Not sure how that will help if it only applies to new construction, though.

        Reply
      4. Whoa Molly!

        Anon is right about the fire tornado. Riding a bus along the route of the Tubbs Fire, you can see how the fire took out everything. Whatever the construction, whether or not the owners had cleared 100 feet around their houses–all gone.

        The only things left are fireplaces, cement foundations, and empty swimming pools surrounded by heat-cracked tiles.

        A firestorm like the one that hit Paradise and northern Santa Rosa takes out everything. Mineral construction might leave a shell, but I suspect the shell will have to be razed before rebuilding starts.

        Reply
        1. SimonGirty

          I’d thought Reynolds had developed the perfectly appropriate building material for CA communities, over a half century ago?

          Little boxes on the hillside,
          Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
          Little boxes on the hillside,
          Little boxes all the same.
          There’s a green one and a pink one
          And a blue one and a yellow one,
          And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
          And they all look just the same.

          And the people in the houses
          All went to the university,
          Where they were put in boxes
          And they came out all the same,
          And there’s doctors and lawyers,
          And business executives,
          And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
          And they all look just the same.

          And they all play on the golf course
          And drink their martinis dry,
          And they all have pretty children
          And the children go to school,
          And the children go to summer camp
          And then to the university,
          Where they are put in boxes
          And they come out all the same.

          And the boys go into business
          And marry and raise a family
          In boxes made of ticky tacky
          And they all look just the same.
          There’s a green one and a pink one
          And a blue one and a yellow one,
          And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
          And they all look just the same

          Reply
      5. Altandmain

        I would recommend that they look into building with monolithic domes.

        Alternatively, the only other approach may be to simply abandon the area as a fire hazard. Let’s face it, there are probably places we should not be building. Floodplains are an example. In the future, coastal areas vulnerable to sea level rise or hurricanes, which due to global warming are going to get worse, should not be built on.

        Reply
  2. jefemt

    Interesting it takes an Independent like Sanders to help the tone-deaf Democrats establish a cogent simple policy plan.

    Major party has no plan, no PR spinmaster / leader out there capturing our imaginations, firing us up, filling our hearts with a much needed antidote to the daily Master of Misdirection and Chaos. Astounding, embarrassing, and quite telling.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Team Blue has recruited non-entity self funders at the local level who wanted to buy a title for decades instead of anyone with values which leads to positions. It’s a party of non-entities. By historical standards or the polled positions of the electorate, Sanders is mundane.

      Republicans groom and raise Republicans for office.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama’s reluctance to lead the effort to get rid of DADT wasn’t forced by Congress critters. A federal judge forced his hand.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Major party has no plan

      That’s not a bug. It’s a feature. If you don’t have a plan, you don’t have to deliver on anything. And you also make the donor class, who have plenty of plans to their own, very happy, and they will be anxious to share their happiness with you, perhaps in the form of gifts.

      It’s really sufficient that the Democrat Party “look like America” (for some definition of “look like” and some definition of “America”). What could be more aspirational?

      Reply
          1. Richard

            I am quite sure what to think of it. HRC’s insensitivity to the suffering of others, and her unreflective nature (what oh what could have caused so many of these refugees? i’m sure i had nothing to do with that!) are never far from the surface, any time she speaks in public. More of the same.

            Reply
            1. Chillary

              Theres also her hypocrisy criticizing trump for his handling of migrants. But frankly “refugees and super predators our” probably is Hillary’s real position.

              Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I always grin when the illuminati tell us that “populism” is bad, so bad.
            Let’s see: it’s based on the word populus, which means “people”. But heaven forbid they should have any say in things…
            Or worse, put in policies that are popu-lar.

            Reply
    3. John k

      Nothing to see here (literally).
      SOP since F.dR. Race fights of the 60’s were activist driven, not party. MLK was not a party functionary.
      Imagine AOC realizes Corp bagwoman Pelosi is most progressive of the possible applicants.
      Nick Brana asked me for money this am because dems so hopeless. He’s right, but third party looks to have even less potential.
      I was reflecting this am on Corp buybacks… our society seems to be massively corrupt. ‘Ask not’ seems like a dream from long ago in an imaginary place.
      There was an opportunity to reset during GFC. Maybe next time.

      Reply
  3. Darius

    Democrats in 2009 could have gotten single payer and a jobs program and marijuana taxation and regulation and a carbon tax and a zero-percent low-end tax bracket in one big budget reconciliation bill. Why is this so hard for them? The Republicans do it all the time.

    Instead they spent a year making Obamacare worse and worse. Pelosi deserves no credit for saving this clusterf$&@. It was too late to salvage anything beyond the corporate welfare we got and that people hate. At that point, Democrats losing the House was baked in the cake. I can’t believe Pelosi is still their leader after eight years of failure. The 2014 debacle only accentuated the fail.

    Reply
    1. Darius

      I actually was astonished that House Democrats didn’t rebel against Obama’s limp-minded leadership and lack of an agenda. My Democrat Exit resulted from their whole-hearted acceptance of it.

      Reply
      1. Joey

        There’s more than one costume for bowing to the plutocracy. Feathers or leather, blue or red, if you can afford to get elected, you don’t deserve to be. I favor authoritarian vs. populist over the false paradigm of L/Dem vs. R/Rep. Its more accurate every time.

        Reply
      2. jsn

        As NTG suggested above, at least since Reagan the Democrat party has been a self funding PR outfit to sell Republican policies to a skeptical electorate. It’s a way for opportunists who feel bad about the blatant racism, classism and psychopathy at the core of the GOP platform to get into the same clubs and live in the same suburbs without having to publicly associate with GOPers.

        Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > many of the Dems were not crypto-repulicans

        Not so crypto any more, with the rehabilitation of George W. Bush, people like David Frum becoming heroes of the #Resistance, the explicit appeals to wealthy suburban Republicans…

        Reply
        1. skippy

          This might be of interest to you Lambert….

          And what about this Third Way organisation who hosted the “Opportunity 2020 conference”. Who are they?

          The Washington-based (DC) organisation claims its purpose it to advance “center-left” ideas in the American political context through “high-impact advocacy campaigns” which they hope will change “how Democrats view the shape of their next electoral majority” (Source).

          Apparently, Third Way released its latest report at the Conference which was the result of “a year-long assessment launched after the 2016 election”.

          Media coverage of the Conference related that (Source):

          Included in its report were a dozen big-picture policy recommendations — such as adopting a robust apprenticeship program and expanded unemployment insurance to help workers find new jobs — and encouragement to bypass talk of income inequality for an emphasis on creating opportunity.

          The participants at the Conference were urged to drop any reference to “moderate” in favour of promoting themselves as “opportunity Democrats”

          So these “opportunity Democrats” don’t want to use frames such as income fairness because that might reinforce voters attention on the dramatic increase in income inequality in the US.

          Which is no surprise really.

          I read an article in The Nation (December 11, 2013) – Third Way: ‘Majority of Our Financial Support’ From Wall Street, Business Executives – that discussed how this centre-left organisation were attacking Senator Elizabeth Warren about her policies to rein in Wall Street excesses and how the group were funded by Wall Street executives.

          There you have it.

          Why would Third Way want the Democrats to turn their focus away from income inequality?

          Why would they want the Party to turn their focus away from banking regulation?

          Answers: fill in the missing blanks with obvious.

          Anyway, I am finding this tension among the social democratic movements to be very interesting at present. The Third Way-types are being challenged finally by a more coherent progressive narrative that is faithful to the traditional mission of the social democratic parties.

          That mission was abandoned by the Third Way-type careerists all around the world.

          There is a fightback starting. Finally. And it is causing strife. Good. – snip

          http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=39889

          Reply
          1. Doug Hillman

            Yes, bring on the strife! We do NOT need another Third Way Highway to Hell!

            Can someone please put these relentlessly triangulating charlatans out of our misery already? Please!?

            Reply
            1. skippy

              Well the Careerists are getting a bit long in the tooth and their offspring don’t seem to have much chance, so it seems the mass of new comers is pivotal.

              Reply
      1. Eureka Springs

        What’s seemingly most difficult is for even those who (read places like NC) are reasonably well informed still deny perhaps the most obvious truth there is. The last few decades have very consistently shown who Democrats are and what they do. Negotiating with Dems in good faith is THE problem. That party is not broken nor fixable. The Democrat party is the how not to represent/govern manual. Might as well keep feeding Sperm whales thirteen pounds of plastic whilst expecting different results.

        Was glad to see Bernie mentioned expanded broadband with his infrastructure spending plan and taxation of the rich in his op-ed. Taxation of the rich to me is as important a social democrat hallmark as single payer. Paygo progressive Pelosi intends to kill these things as much as single payer with her typical predictable Democratic playbook. And I’m still outraged over her stumping for anti-choice congressional Dem candidates last Summer. An issue which is repeatedly and vociferously ordered to be the exact opposite in the party platform.

        Reply
    2. Doug Hillman

      Obama’s midterm loss was indeed “baked into the cake” — it was the in recipe. Obama needed a foil for his stealth perfidy, a strawman fox to throw him into Brer Rabbit’s dreaded briar patch —“anything but that!” And under the cover of the briar patch he turning the USG over to his sponsors, Wall Street Neocons.

      Obama’s only real “mistakes” were failing to “save” cat food for seniors, failing to bomb Syria and achieve Netanyahoo’s “regime” change, failing to pass TPP and TCIP and Keystone, and failing to get HRC her entitlement.

      Only a revolution will change this system, and the “Left” must first jettison the false illusion that the Democratic Party and its MOTU patrons are as objective, open-minded, well-intentioned, generous and moral as they are.

      Reply
      1. cocomaan

        The 5 Eyes intelligence services are opposing the Trump release of FISA documents related to surveillance of Carter Page, as well as other intelligence related to the investigation of collusion.

        The justification for surveillance of Carter Page is a weird chicken and egg story. Dan Bongino covers it endlessly on his podcast and in his book Spygate.

        To sum up the conspiracy argument, which I admit I’m sympathetic to because I don’t like the US intel services, is that the Obama administration used very fast and loose justifications, most of which would never pass muster in court or by intel analysts, to ask the 5 eyes intel agencies to perform surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election for purposes of opposition research.

        In other words, Obama made the same mistake as Nixon but instead of breaking into Watergate he used the intelligence services to do the oppo research.

        If Obama used the ability for foreign 5 Eyes intel agencies to spy on foreign (our) communications in order to gain an advantage in the 2016 elections, it would be a pretty terrible miscarriage of the Commander in Chief role.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > To sum up the conspiracy argument, which I admit I’m sympathetic to because I don’t like the US intel services, is that the Obama administration used very fast and loose justifications, most of which would never pass muster in court or by intel analysts, to ask the 5 eyes intel agencies to perform surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election for purposes of opposition research.

          I always expected Trump to break something like this as his October surprise. That he did not would seem to indicate that he doesn’t have the goods.

          Reply
          1. Pat

            Since It was near impossible for Democrats to take both Houses of Congress it might work better in say August 2020. Especially if the Democrats nominate anyone from the Obama administration or Congress from that period.

            Just saying.

            Reply
  4. Clive

    Be thankful you don’t have to look at the Daily Telegraph, even if it’s only leering out at you in the supermarket checkout line, disgorging its customary blend of Little Englander certainties, incipient moral panics, royal family stories and a relationship to facts which is slightly less committed than a one-night-stand where they seriously toy with the idea of sneaking out without even stopping to brush their teeth.

    But, there’s always exceptions.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/north-america/united-states/articles/what-british-do-not-understand-about-thanksgiving/

    … is rather funny.

    (not paywalled when I accessed it here, but if they try to get your email address out of you, don’t whatever you do give it to them)

    Reply
    1. Stephen V.

      Yes. Hilarious! Needless to say I won’t look for Thanksgiving to come to the Great British Baking Show anytime soon…

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Ugh, I hit a “register for free to read rest of article” wall – and it’s never ‘free’, besides the time needed to cough up whatever pesonal data are required, you are basically signing up for another load of e-mail spam.

        Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Nancy Pelosi’s Fight: How She Revived Obamacare After Democrats Left it for Dead”

    Sorry, but I had to laugh when I read the first line of that article where it said: “Barack Obama’s great strength was always his ability to shape himself into a vessel for the hopes of a wide array of different people.” Yeah, he did, The only thing was that that vessel was a toilet bowl where he promptly flushed down all those hopes in exchange for an extravagant lifestyle which he is now collecting on.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama had a similar line in one of his books about people projecting their values onto him as if he were a blank slate. It’s the only interesting thing the man has ever said publicly.

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats need a bold agenda. Here’s what they should do in the first 100 days of Congress.”

    Hey, I’m not even an American but I can recognize how delusional that list is. A lot of those items on that list the democrats are responsible for or when they had the power after Obama was first elected they did nothing about. Bernie Sanders basically came up with a list of things that the democrats should fight that are in reality core democrat policies. It would be better if he demanded structural changes in the democrat party that would allow for the introduction of such policies. Maybe having as a priority for the party enrolling people to vote in the 2020 election and actually fighting to stop people from being illegally kicked off electoral rolls. Core party functions that seem to have been ignored. That would be a good place to start. It would also help give progressives the numbers to influence the party itself.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      “It may be I’m a dreamer…But I’m not the only one.”

      Yes it is not going to happen. But articles like this, and people who don’t buy the facile meaningless excuses for why it doesn’t and speak up about it actually do get us closer to the destruction of the current Democratic Party. And therefore closer to those structural changes you seek, because they are as delusional as Bernie’s list with the current Democratic Party.

      So I guess I should add to my thankful list. I am thankful for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They have been very edifying regarding our Democratic leadership as Lambert says. You may have to remind people outraged over Donald’s latest of how Democrats have been essential to creating the conditions that allow for this but after awhile people just ask – first cynically, then angrily, and eventually sadly resigned. And when people applaud a Bernie or AOC call for action you tell them how Democratic elite will block it…same thing. People are learning. Slowly, too slowly but it is happening.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        There is great informational and strategic value in putting forward good and broadly popular policies and putting politicians in the position where they are forced to publicly oppose them–even if those policies aren’t immediately politicall viable. Clarification, to paraphrase our Lambert. Get them on record opposing these broadly popular policies, and then use their opposition as a weapon to primary or oppose them. And the ensuing debate raises the profile of those issues, ones the status quo often want to keep buried and out of view.

        Reply
        1. Richard

          Yes. Politics from the left is all about getting your opponents on the record with policy. And then, and then, having the guts to do something about that. Our policies are overwhelmingly popular. This isn’t rocket science.
          Of course the dems are missing two key ingrediants for this apparently easy success:
          1) They aren’t on the left and don’t share its policy values. Thus, getting opponents on the record opposing left policy doesn’t work for them. They don’t support it either.
          2) Winning frightens them, or better said, winning with the wrong people frightens them. The last thing they want is to lose control of their party to a confident, energized base of working people across the country. Hmm. This is folding back into not sharing policy values, so maybe it’s just that one thing they are missing. But it’s TG, and I am too lazy to edit for coherence of main idea.
          TG is my excuse for all sorts of sluggardly behavior. But I do plan on being convivial :)

          Reply
    2. sparkylab

      The comments on that article are more instructive than the article itself. 95% finger pointing. They really are in absolute disarray.

      Reply
    3. Daryl

      I think it’s a fine list. They should smash the Democratic party as well, but as far as policies the house should be passing it is fine. Yes, it seems delusional, and it should: you don’t start negotiating by slamming down a list of compromises on the table. Unless you’re Nancy Pelosi or the Democratic Party.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > you don’t start negotiating by slamming down a list of compromises on the table.

        I feel like this should be a Monty Python sketch… Can’t remember one, though. “And I won’t take Yes for an answer!” “Well, then, sir….”

        Reply
  7. JTMcPhee

    What does it mean, that half the ATMs will disappear? A sociology word is “atomization.” Is “ATMization” a word too?

    And yes, the Harkonnens run the world. Is there a Bene Gesserit witch whelping a Kwizatz Haderach to fall into a well-primed eco-polity, to become “the Universe’s super-being” who’ll bring water to the desert and all that? Of course, the message Herbert offers is that “it only gets more complicated, and violent, and the mopes still suffer under new management, and the ambitions and excesses of the species (unmodified in Herbert’s universe, except for the Bene Tleilaxu) continue to exist and proliferate.

    At least Herbert’s humans had the good sense to have undertaken the Butlerian Jihad, to rid themselves of the horrors of being driven by “artificial intelligence…” Don’t see much drive to rein in the excesses of the tech lovers in this universe.

    “It’s only a work of fiction… It’s only a work of fiction…”

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      Errrmmm… You did notice the article was about India, right? There’s a faction there that want to make India a cashless society. We see a similar cult in Scandinavia. Fortunately, they don’t seem to have acquired much of a foothold in America, yet.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Erm, yes I noted that was about India, and has neoliberal atomization not arrived there yet? Farmers committing suicide, the whole Modi phenom, becoming the place that so much is outsourced to, the way people packnonto trains, etc.?

        And here the “banked” carry “cash cards” fitted with “chips,” do their “banking” via “apps,” buy their “stuff” from Amazon via PayPal and such. Even pay taxes via online apps. No cult of cashlessness here? The banksters are sure pressing for that, and how many are happy to go along, for “convenience?”

        Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Apple Supplier Foxconn Signals Deep Cuts as Smartphone Demand Wanes”

    Maybe it is a case of all the young people that use to que up outside Apple shops to buy the newest iPhones are much older now and have lives to get along with. The are in their thirties and forties and the glamour of hanging around shop doors does not have the same sort of appeal and doesn’t sound cool either. Maybe they got tired of comparing their iPhones with their parents or grandparents mobiles and finding those mobiles just as good as, if not better & cheaper, than the latest upgraded iPhone. Maybe too they are noticing how ordinary mobiles are when they see them on sale in shops – right between electric blenders and pop-up toasters.

    Reply
    1. J7915

      Spot on about the latest and greatest gadget. Now if Uber/Lyft would provide free pagers…

      Happy Thansgiving and aside from uncle*** at the table, may the right team loose.

      I promise after New Year’s to only contribute serious stuff.

      Reply
    2. David

      This is the standard way in which the non-technical press treats such stories, because, if you read the story carefully, you will see that the real headline should be “One of Apple’s suppliers, which also supplies components to almost every other electronics maker you’ve ever heard of is cutting its workforce but nobody knows whether this has anything to do with Apple sales or not.” But who would click on that? who would click on a headline saying “Huawei supplier signals deep cuts”? Nobody.
      Such stories are usually quickly debunked in the technical press. Here is one example.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        The article – which I suggest *you* need to read ‘carefully’ – specifically mentioned the iPhone unit, and also that the same demand-slashing is affecting other iPhone parts suppliers:

        “Foxconn’s iPhone business will need to reduce expenses by 6 billion yuan next year and the company plans to eliminate about 10% of nontechnical staff, according to the memo. The moves are likely to add to the gloom enveloping Apple and suppliers for the iPhone, its most important product. Just last week, four suppliers on three continents cut their revenue estimates because of weak demand. That set off a rout in technology stocks that has spread to the broader market in recent days.”

        Reply
        1. David

          Yes it did, because articles like that have to mention Apple or nobody reads them. But virtually all of this is supposition and guesswork, often based on rumours from supply chain sources about suppliers who supply many other companies. This kind of story is a standing joke – there are entire sites devoted to ridiculing them, with stories like this one. which specifically rubbishes the same allegations about the alleged “gloom.”

          Reply
    3. cnchal

      Maybe anyone that wants one has one, and it seems wasteful to have two, and when it comes to the upgrade, be careful what you wish for.

      For example, veering in a totally off topic direction, upgrading your car to the latest one with direct fuel injection is a case of future disaster built right into the product. It appears that sooner or later a procedure known as “walnut blasting” is required to be performed on your intake valves, and that is messy, very expensive (thousands) and potentially harmful to the rest of the engine. All to eke out a miniscule fuel mileage and performance increase, which will be overwhelmed by the energy and expense wasted every hundred thousand miles or so dealing with this.

      What does this have to do with phones? Not much, except the new car spies on you just like your phone. Brings out the attention craving narcissist in all of us..

      Reply
  9. Stephen Gardner

    On the topic of analog computing: digital designs became prevalent for a reason. Designing an analog solution to a math problem is difficult and accuracy is hard to gauge. I’m not holding my breath for widespread use of analog computation.

    Reply
    1. oliverks

      Stephen, I agree that analog computing is unlikely to take off any time soon. There are some novel ideas happening in the digital space that offer significant current reduction as well. For example in neural networks people are experimenting with spiking neurons which seem to help reduce power significantly.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        All the better to mine blockchain “currency” with?

        And the goal of all this marvelous infinitely fractal and recursive Tech is just exactly what, again? Seems like most of it is just weaponizable and rentable mortality. Not, per Arthur Clarke’s inspirational vision, “Something wonderful!”

        And what would the apes wielding their dead-relatives’ femur clubs be doing with and too “all these worlds except that one”? There’s lots of reasons the story of the Fall from Eden is included in a lot of religious tale-telling.

        Happy Day Before Black Friday, everyone! May you have pleasant time with family and friends, or just all by yourselves.

        Reply
        1. ewmayer

          “And the goal of all this marvelous infinitely fractal and recursive Tech is just exactly what, again?”

          Why, to allow angry people to vent by ranting and railing online for hours every day, of course. And also the funny pet videos!

          Reply
    2. hunkerdown

      He’s right, in that sequential, instruction-based computation isn’t the best fit for every job. Much power and time is lost shuffling data around and controlling its movement, compared to the small amount of power spent computing it. The paradigm was designed to reuse scarce resources whose interconnections could not be reconfigured, at the cost of operating performance.

      But, in thrall to his obsession (as his friends and family rightly describe it), here he disregards the existence of FPGAs (basically a bunch of uncommitted gates and latches on a chip, with a programmable switching fabric connecting them) and the two decades or more in development of the field of reconfigurable computing, and the corresponding power- and time-saving of abandoning or greatly reducing control logic and unnecessary data storage, while calling for an analog analogue of the same.

      Maybe there’s still time for him to get in on the electronic music wave.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Like many components of the world as we know it our digital computers require a considerable infrastructure for their support — an infrastructure of industrial base, dispersed trade, and considerable electric power. A time will come when digital hardware will have these supports no more. The analog computers and hybrid computers shown in the link also require similar infrastructure though of a different mix. Now might be a good time to assemble computing technologies that might supplement our present dependence on digital computers.

      Many applications can be quite adequately controlled using a simple linear proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller). There are many ways to implement an analog PID controller. I like fluidic designs for their use of a non-electrical power source and signal flows and they are robust to EMP. There are of course many bi-stable switches that can implement bang-bang control between rough limits. I believe that many devices currently implemented with relatively complex digital hardware might be implemented with simpler analog devices whose infrastructure might be carried into the future of the world … after. Now might be a good time to search for them in patent literature and to invent them.

      Another analog technology applicable to more complex problems of mathematics and science is a physical model. We know how to scale many combinations of materials to implement complex physical models. Consider the example in the link — an analog “set up to simulate the airflow around a so-called Joukowsky airfoil”. Before there were digital computers and electronic analog computers people used to study airfoils by constructing a shape and testing it in a windtunnel. Complex manipulations of the airfoil could be implemented using a carving knife.

      I don’t look forward to an age without digital computers but their invention has come at some considerable costs to human knowledge. There is far too much focus on the complexity and fine accuracy of digital solutions to various problems — and far too little attention paid to meaning of those solutions. Consider the vast catalog of molecular structures calculated with growing precision and presumed accuracy. How much study is given to gaining a small increment of precision in determining enzyme structures as opposed to study of those structures to understand their complex structural architecture and their detailed operations as catalysts? And what of mathematical proofs based on digital computations, like the proof by exhaustion of the four-color problem? Did that proof offer any better understanding of what the four-color problem means about the connectivity of a plane? The precision and brute force of digital computing blinders our intuition and substitutes precision in a ‘solution’ for knowledge.

      Reply
  10. Pat

    Let that adorable antidote out!

    I am thankful for NC, Yves, Lambert, Jerynn and the many commentators here that help me understand WTF is going on. Thank You.

    Oh and pass the mashed potatoes.

    Reply
  11. David

    The title of the “French Revolution” story is a bit overdone. We are nowhere near there yet, even if the story itself isn’t bad. It does, though, fall into the trap of overestimating Macron’s initial popularity, and so the unexpected “fall” recently. Macron was always a “not as bad as the others” candidate. He only squeaked into the second round at all because of generalised disgust with the established parties, and because he benefited from a lot of tactical voting. In the second round, anybody was going to beat Le Pen, and he duly did, although very large numbers of electors didn’t bother to turn out at all. It’s doubtful whether his core support ever extended to more than about 15% of the electorate, so the “fall” in popularity was to be expected.
    In addition, he’s almost gone out of his way to antagonise ordinary people. The tax increase on fuel won’t go, in fact, to ecological programmes, but to help pay for the tax cuts for the rich. As a sympathetic article in Le Monde (usually a good guide to establishment opinion) pointed out yesterday, he could have raised the money by taxing the large and powerful cars that the rich drive, instead. No chance.
    Macron is young and inexperienced, with a young and inexperienced team of close advisers who think they are a Silicon Valley start-up. He’s just had a bruising interaction with reality, and it’s clear he has no idea what to do next.

    Reply
    1. vidimi

      his support rating today is around the same as the percentage of first round voters in the elections, or about a quarter of the eligible population. the real question is, how many of those who supported him from the start will abandon him?

      also, i am not sure if melenchon would have beaten le pen. i think the establishment would have rehabilitated le pen if that were the choice.

      Reply
  12. integer

    Re: The Democrats’ White-People Problem

    Not a bad article, plenty to agree with, however the following passages caught my attention:

    Experiments show that when white people are told they will lose their majority status and related social advantages, they respond with anger toward and fear of ethnic minorities.

    I assume these experiments were only conducted in Western nations. I expect majorities in countries with non-white majorities would respond the same way if crackers were threatening the majority status.

    It’s true that overt racists flocked to Trump; chillingly, 35 percent of Trump voters report having used the N‑word.

    I’m pretty sure everyone who is young enough to have grown up with rap/hip-hop, whether they are black, white, yellow, or brown, have used the N-word.

    Reply
    1. whine country

      The question is: What percentage the population answers the question about ever having used the N-Word honestly? I would respond: “When did YOU stop beating your wife?”

      Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      crackers…a joke, I presume.

      Anyway, grateful today that the sun is shining and yes, for the wit and wisdom of everyone here. Amazing how little I knew before discovering NC!

      Reply
  13. Kurt Sperry

    Why Algorithms Suck and Analog Computers are the Future- Since this has passed without comment so far, I’ll paraprase it: the currently most powerful computer in the world, the TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, China, clocks at about 93 petaflops. It also requires enough electrical energy to power a town of about 16,000 people. The human brain is roughly competitive at around 38 petaflops, yet requires only about the energy needed to power a single high-efficiency lightbulb– 20W. How does it accomplish this? Analog computing, which was how all high-power computing was done up until the seventies. The extraordinary thermodynamic inefficiency of a modern digital computer vs. the ol’ meat machine we all get born with strongly suggests that we are doing electronic computing in completely the wrong ways. Analog: the new quantum, except it works.

    The first person to make a homemade analog cryptocurrency miner will probably be rich for a few days, then finish off the entire genre and make it all worthless. Well, more worthless. A lot more. Please, someone?

    Reply
    1. Lee

      I have yet to hear of a computer that can go out and hunt, gather, farm or mine for its own energy source, lacking as they do either appetite or the means to satisfy it. They have yet to rise to the level of development imagined in Frankenstein, where in this regard, the monster was made of meat and had an appetite for companionship and affection. When some piece of crap digital component in my car tried to kill me, I knew it wasn’t personal. I blame the human manufacturer, for whom it could be made at least somewhat personal through a lawsuit.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      Good luck running a global weather simulation (with the needed repeatability to study effects of small input changes), or kilobit crypto, using an analog computer. It’s all about using the right tool for the right job. Per Wikipedia, the strength of analog computation lies in: “energy-efficient approximate computing”, which is very similar to what our brains have been optimized for. Once numerical precision comes into play, digital wins hands down.

      “The human brain is roughly competitive at around 38 petaflops” – Huh? Where did that number come from? The human brain is incapable of even a single FLOP-per-second at any meaningful precision, thus any such comparison is bogus. Again, we are talking about 2 completely different computing paradigms. More usefully, one could compare, say, the chess-playing ability of a human grandmaster versus that of a best-of-breed hardware+software combo – as a function of wattage, the human still does very well. Unlimit the wattage, the human loses, increasingly badly as the computers get faster and more efficient and algorithms get improved. On brute-force number-crunching tasks such as matrix computations, the humans got left in the dust a long time ago, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it has freed them up to spend more time *interpreting* the data and designing improved algorithms and numerical experiments, the old “the purpose of computation is insight, not numbers” thing.

      Reply
  14. divadab

    Re: Antidote – Ah the magnificent mustelids! Around here otters seek out peoples’ fishponds and take up residence while eating their fish, which causes a lot of them to suffer death by lead poisoning, as my fishpond owning neighbor describes it.

    I haven’t yet seen a weasel in its winter white but I expect to soon as the squirrel population is pretty active.

    Reply
  15. JimTan

    “Goldman sued by Abu Dhabi fund over 1MDB”

    Ugh – It seems like there’s no bottom to the ugliness Goldman Sachs is facing these days. I wonder what Khadem al-Qubaisi, IPIC’s former managing director, did with all the bribe money he received from Goldman?

    Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It would be highly ironic if the Trump administration turned out to be the administration that threw some banksters in jail.

        Lloyd Blankfein, cuffed, doing the perp walk in an orange jumpsuit on national television. A humble blogger can dream….

        Reply
  16. Eclair

    RE: Glenn Greenwald’s Thanksgiving offering, “Trump’s Amoral Saudi Statement …”

    “If you want to denounce Trump’s indifference to Saudi atrocities on moral, ethical or geo-political grounds – and I find them objectionable on all of those grounds – by all means do so. But pretending that he’s done something that is at odds with U.S. values or the actions of prior leaders or prevailing foreign policy orthodoxies is not just deceitful but destructive.”

    Greenwald performs a clinical autopsy of US foreign policy over there decades, slicing open the cadaver so we can view the cancer-riddled organs. Utterly depressing. I cling for hope to Antonio Gramsci’s observation concerning pessimism of the intellect but optimism of the will.

    Hold close today all who love you and whom you love …. even if their politics irritate you. And hope that the tryptophan in the turkey raises your spirits.

    Reply
    1. John k

      It’s in fact unreasonable to fuss so much what Saudi did to their own national and be totally concerned over what they (and we) are doing in Yemen. Or their fomenting terrorism thru the madrassas funding. Or what they do to their internal protestors (granted, our own police are learning fast.)

      Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      sleeping is always a good time ;-)

      GG does this again and again; he is a lodestar. And Jeremy Scahill’s podcast Intercepted does the same thing.

      More to be grateful for.

      Reply
    3. Lee

      Trump’s great sin in this matter is that compared to the pearl clutchers, he is an inartful liar on the one hand and speaks the awful truth on the other.

      Reply
  17. Synoia

    Why Algorithms Suck and Analog Computers are the Future De Gruyter Conversations (DK). From 2017, still germane. “Tomorrow’s applications demand stronger computing powers at much lower energy consumption levels. But digital computers simply can’t provide this out of the box.”

    Analogue Computers have no storage, no multitasking, and limited precision, are hard to program and the programs very hard to test. Testing an analog circuit, the program for an analog computer, can only be complete by experiment, and even then cannot be show to be a correct reflection of the system it is trying to emulate.

    Digital computers do consume large amounts of power. That’s because switching a bit from 1 to 0 take a finite amount of time, and in that time consumes power. Hence the interest in qbits, which I do not even pretend to understand.

    Comparing them, or digital computers with a brain is a false comparison, because brains, analogue and digital computers operate differently. Most brains cannot sum numbers as fast as digital computers.

    The stet,without definition that a Human Brain operated an some number of petaflops without a description of how the author arrived at that estimate is dubious at best.

    The highest bandwidth application, or fastest, for brains appears to be vision, and how vision works is not fully known. We do know it is massively parallel, but that’s a trivial discovery, as is easily verified by post mortem dissection of an optic nerve.

    Reply
  18. Carla

    Good news for most of the world; bad news for USA, USA–from the Economist:

    “Around the world, suicide rates are falling as a result of urbanisation, greater freedom and some helpful policies. America is the notable exception: since 2000, its suicide rate has risen by 18%, compared with a 29% drop in the world as a whole. It could learn from the progress made elsewhere, and more lives could be saved globally with better health services, labour-market policies and curbs on booze, guns, pesticides and pills.”

    https://www.economist.com/leaders/2018/11/24/why-suicide-is-falling-around-the-world-and-how-to-bring-it-down-more

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      And, in those countries lucky enough to be the recipients of the USA’s ‘we are bringing you democracy’ project, one can simply wait and be ‘suicided by drone (bomb, cholera, starvation … take your pick.) That way, potential suicides are simply counted as ‘collateral damage.’

      Reply
  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the article by Scott Ritter in The American Conservative stating that “there is no evidence that sanctions implemented … have meaningfully altered the behaviors that they target.” I agree with Ritter and question the true policy objectives of the sanctions. If it’s regime change, there is little reason to believe that the sanctions are capable of achieving that, or that military weakness will be a byproduct of the sanctions. So given their ineffectiveness what are the real reasons for this policy, who is driving it, and why?

    Reply
    1. Pat

      One simple reason: “we’ve done everything we can think of to avoid military intervention with this evil country, but….” There is also false show of power and the possible creation of markets for things like American natural gas by increasing cost of products from sanctioned countries.
      It is one of the reasons I have sort of enjoyed Trump trying to force enforcement of the sanctions on Russia and Iran. Clarifying.

      Reply
  20. ewmayer

    o From the “Ukraine [Water] Crisis Deepens” link: “The Russian people, enjoying a halfway-decent government, continue to enjoy the legacy of Aqua-Technology (and all the other technologies) left behind by their Soviet Overlords.”

    Uh, no – the correct phrasing is “The Russian people, enjoying a halfway-decent government, continue to enjoy the legacy of Aqua-Technology (and all the other technologies) left behind by their parents’ and grandparents’ generations under their Soviet Overlords.” The Soviet Overlords weren’t doing the digging and pipelaying. The reason I harp on this is that focusing on the government-at-the-time obscures the fact that ordinary people have always been capable of accomplishing extraordinary things, when properly organized and motivated – the latter is where governments come in, for good or ill. In Ukraine, the current US-abetted corrupto-regime would definitely appear to fall on the “ill” side of things. Further:

    “the Ukrainian ecologist organization estimates that the amount of money needed to repair and reconstruct Ukraine’s water system would be around $40 billion dollars. [Anybody have that kind of money to spare?]” — Well, how much have the Ukrainian government and its US backer spent on weapons since Maidan? I’m guessing the amount is comparable. According to Wikipedia, Ukraine’s military spending has nearly doubled in the past 5 years and currently stands at $6.3 billion, around 5% of GDP. Direct US aid runs only around $300 million/year, but who knows how much indirect aid is flowing to Kiev. Anyhow, as elsewhere, the problem lies not in lack pf money but with spending priorities and governmental corruption.

    o “Democrats need a bold agenda. Here’s what they should do in the first 100 days of Congress. Bernie Sanders, WaPo” — Should do. But won’t.

    o “Julian Assange deserves a Medal of Freedom, not a secret indictment | USA Today” — Yeah, but see, there’s only so many of said baubles to go around, and we’ve got to save them for truly deserving people, like Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan, Bill and Melinda Gates, George Tenet and other worthies.

    o Antidote: Someone otter have words with whoever it was that caged such a lovely creature!

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > ordinary people have always been capable of accomplishing extraordinary things, when properly organized and motivated – the latter is where governments come in, for good or ill.

      Or parties.

      Reply
  21. Pat

    Okay, perhaps I am too hard on Clinton, I mean Ivanka Trump Kushner has been using private email!

    Oh, wait, Ivanka is not Secretary of State, she afaik does not have a private server in her home that is even less secure than gmail, and unless there is some policy I do not know about is not also flaunting departmental security standards by using her insecure cell phone in areas where all cell phone use is supposedly off limits. I’m also pretty sure she has not lied about providing the government with a complete record of her time in ‘office’. Mind you when I find out that country X has provded either Kushner with millions for their LLC or foundation before they get to okay a deal that means billions for said country in goods or currency that needs their okay, I will take this all back.

    Nope, it is not equivalent. Sorry Clintonites, your idol was still flagrantly breaking the law and ignoring security for their own benefit.

    (Mind you, I’m not so sure that email, texting and twitter should not be banned for all government operations anyway, but it certainly should never take place outside of government servers – Ivanka included.)

    Reply
  22. Oregoncharles

    From “Why Algorithms Suck and Analog Computers are the Future” – energy efficiency, apparently: “AN ECONOMICAL SUPERCOMPUTER: THE HUMAN BRAIN.”

    This reminds me that the first computers were used to calculate lenses (a very complex task), and consisted of dozens, or hundreds, of artillery officers (who had to calculate trajectories) arrayed in a large room. The article credits the human brain with 38 petaflops; multiply that times dozens or hundreds. That was in the later 1800’s.

    The “computers” used in the early space program, again calculating trajectories, were women who were arrayed, again, in considerable numbers to solve large problems.

    Reply
  23. Jason Langford

    Am I the only one who can’t get The Nation article to come up? Even searching it through google results in an error when I click on the li k.

    Reply
  24. Sherrie

    It does appear that the American’s *need* their half-price televisions. Certainly not worthy of lining up in a crowd or getting in a physical fight over one…

    Reply
  25. RMO

    “Russian diplomacy is winning the new cold war” No surprise, no matter your personal views on Putin’s policies, tactics and character there’s no doubt he and the Russian administration in general is living in the real world and not the insane cloudcuckooland of the U.S. elites.

    There’s an “evening with Kevin Smith” video (used to be on YouTube) where he talks about his time working with Prince and how one of Prince’s staff explained about how Prince had been “living in Prince land” for aome time and would have trouble understanding that there might be practical difficulties with, for example, getting an elephant at a few minute’s notice in the middle of the night in Minneapolis. I think the U.S. elites have been living in “D.C. world” so long now that they too have lost touch with reality. Not surprising when they never have to face up to any of the real-world results of their actions.

    Reply
  26. Edward E

    First thing I thought looking at it, weasel wanting a chicken to eat. It’s not a weasel of course, looks like a Asian river otter wanting something to eat. Not a cage for sure.

    So while looking at Michael Mann Twitter, posted temperature anomalies. Yes there’s warmth, but… Looks like a lot of bitter cold to me for this time of year.

    https://climatereanalyzer.org/wx/DailySummary/#t2

    Think it’s cold where you are? Check Mount Washington – The Boston Globe

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/11/22/think-cold-where-you-are-check-mount-washington/pcWUZ1unMhB2y97ULlJ9CO/story.html

    “We knew it was going to be very cold,” Regan said. “Twenty-six below is extremely low for this time of year. It’s pretty unusual, especially in our 86-year history, to shatter a record by 15 degrees. It’s pretty crazy.”

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Global weirding.

      It’s almost like “Mother Nature” decided to make the nation whose individual citizens on the average put the greatest load on the climate incapable of perceiving the problem (“It’s cold where I am” — and apparently especially so in DC this year, the imperial capital). All part of the rebooting process, I suppose. Scrape the planet’s surface clean and start over…

      Reply
      1. Edward E

        They color those maps to try to make them more scary. +.05 is about right for a moderate el níno modoki. I was born in the wrong interglacial, wanted to be in the last one with sea level 40ft higher and oceanfront property nearer Arkiefornia. The animules were bigger and the forests fertile.
        Scrape the planet clean, start over, Huh? Lambert is beginning to remind me of somebody like George Carlin.
        https://youtu.be/EjmtSkl53h4

        Reply

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