2:00PM Water Cooler 8/29/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Trade

“Google to shift Pixel smartphone production from China to Vietnam” [Nikkei Asian Review (Furzy Mouse)]. “Working with a partner, Google started work this summer to convert an old Nokia factory in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh to handle production of Pixel phones, two people familiar with the company’s plans said. This is the same province where Samsung developed its smartphone supply chain a decade ago, so Google will have access to an experienced workforce. The push to develop a Vietnamese production base reflects the twin pressures of higher Chinese labor costs and the spiraling tariffs resulting from the trade war between Washington and Beijing. The U.S. internet giant intends to eventually move production of most of its American-bound hardware outside of China, including Pixel phones and its popular smart speaker, Google Home, according to the sources.”

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

Alert reader dk (not to be confused with DK) is in the process of developing the following interactive chart. Here, I have filtered out all the candidates but the top five, and used a “stair step” presentation, which, although a little jarring, conveys the idea that polls are only slices in time; it’s the voters who move in curves, whereas the polls really are jagged proxies for whatever is happening out there in the dark matter of the electorate:

And here are the numbers as of 8/29/2019, 12:30 PM EDT:

Sanders took a big hit in the YouGov poll, the latest. However, Biden’s trendline is clear. I think DK has started a really neat project, and in the near future we’ll seek your feedback (within reason) for the tool “live.” UPDATE: dk’s numbers presentation is now superior to RCP’s. We have the polls taken on a given day, and the timespan and sample size and sample population of each poll. We also have the averages and gains/losses for each candidate!

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2020

Sanders (D)(1): “The Washington Post’s Latest Fact Check of Bernie Sanders Is Really Something” [Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone]. On the statistic Sanders quotes that there are “about 530,000 medical bankruptcies annually”:

To review: the Post fact checker, going straight to the source, a Harvard lecturer, found that Sanders’ was sticking to close to the facts, and if anything understating the problem.

So why didn’t the Post give Bernie a coveted “Geppetto Checkmark” for truthfulness. (Yes, it’s really called this — you can’t make this shit up.) Who knows?!?

The author spends the rest of the 1,600 word piece splitting hairs and then tying them into knots. He takes it upon himself to not simply fact check Sanders, but the medical journal that Sanders relied on. And it turns out that, if you dig down far enough, you can uncover a minor-league academic beef about bankruptcy statistics, with professors arguing about the extent to which one can say the contributing factor of medical debt is actually what “caused” the bankruptcy.

Despite his pageant of pedantry, the fact checker doesn’t get to the bottom of anything. He doesn’t prove that one side in this ivory tower debate is in fact right, while the other is actually wrong. More important, he doesn’t offer any evidence that Sanders was aware of this teapot tempest or that he in any way set out to deceive voters. Instead author proudly presents the unholy tangle he, himself, created to conclude: “The omissions and twists are significant enough to merit Three Pinocchios for Sanders.”

The process by which the Post fact checker transmogrified a basically true statement into a ruling of “mostly false” is a case study in the uselessness of the political fact-check as it is often practiced.

“Who knows?” Really?

Trump (R)(1): “Trump Could Win Again” [The Atlantic]. “Trump is a known quantity. After three years in which Democrats have—for good reason—attacked him from every possible angle, it is difficult to imagine that they might suddenly succeed in changing how most Americans feel about him. What new angle of attack is supposed to turn against Trump voters who have so far stuck with him? By contrast, so far Republicans have not had the need or the occasion to concentrate their attacks on any one of the 16 Democrats running for the party’s nomination. Once they do, they are likely to decrease the popularity of whoever ends up emerging as the victor.” • 

Trump (R)(2): “We Aren’t Seeing White Support for Trump for What It Is” [Thomas Edsall, New York Times]. “Perhaps most significant, [ Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm, political scientists at Duke and Ohio State] found that the common assumption that the contemporary Republican Party has become crucially dependent on the white working class — defined as whites without college degrees — is overly simplistic. Instead, Kitschelt and Rehm find that the surge of whites into the Republican Party has been led by whites with relatively high incomes — in the top two quintiles of the income distribution — but without college degrees, a constituency that is now decisively committed to the Republican Party.”

Warren (D)(1): “Ag Policy: Warren’s Supply Management Program – Commentary” [AgFax]. “For the first time since at least 1980, we have presidential candidates who have designed their proposed agricultural policies based on the economic characteristics of the crop sector: the low price elasticity of both supply and demand. Both Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have come out in favor of supply management policies. It is refreshing that a number of other presidential candidates have also addressed agricultural issues. The most detailed of those policy proposals has been put forth by Elizabeth Warren.” • One of the authors worked with Warren, but this is still a good read, and good backgrond for Iowa.

Warren (D)(2): “Dow breast implant case spotlights Elizabeth Warren’s work helping big corporations navigate bankruptcies” [WaPo]. “‘[Warren]was on the wrong side of the table,’ said Sybil Goldrich, who co-founded a support group for women with implants and battled the companies for years. Goldrich said Dow Corning and its parent ‘used every trick in the book’ to limit the size of payouts to women. The companies, she added, ‘were not easy to deal with at all.’ A person familiar with Warren’s role who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe litigation strategy said the future senator was part of a Dow defense team that had containing the company’s liability as a goal…. At issue are two decades when Warren enhanced her income as a law professor by consulting on various legal issues and representing clients.” •

* * *

CA: This applies to all “independent” California voters:

One classic form of partisan manipulation is for the party of the incumbent to place a straw on the ballot with a name confusingly similar to the challenger, splitting the vote. But to put a confusingly similar party on the ballot borders on GENIUS. We can see why California is a one-party state. (We shoul d also take the electorial machinery, in its entirely, out of the hands of the parties, who are obviously conflicted.)

Realignment and Legitimacy

“On Left Straussianism” [The Point]. “Should we attempt to publicly air disagreements with those who are, broadly speaking, on the same “side” of a political, social or spiritual debate as we are, or should we shelter those disagreements from public view in the name of some greater good?… The assumption that public intellectual life is mainly about positioning helps explain some peculiar features of our public conversation, such as the extent to which it rewards posturing and selective criticism. But the rigid distinction these commentators drew between how we ought to talk to our trusted allies and how we should speak when we suspect we are being listened to by those without similar educations, political assumptions or moral fortitude, is also revealing in another way. It suggests the ascendancy among some leftist intellectuals of a public vs. private distinction that has traditionally been thought of as a product of elitist conservatism.” • Unsurprisingly!

“Obama takes on partisan gerrymandering with new initiative” [Los Angeles Times (Re Silc)]. “In one of his first public political actions since he left the White House, Obama unveiled Redistricting U on Twitter as an in-person training arm of the All on the Line project, a grassroots advocacy campaign fighting for fair electoral maps ahead of the 2020 census count and redistricting in 2021…. Redistricting U says it will train volunteers in U.S. cities about the redistricting process in their states and how they can counter unfair redistricting practices. The campaign says ‘rigged electoral maps’ create a system in which elected officials ‘feel more accountable to the most radical parts of their base rather than to the rational, reasonable solutions that most Americans support.'” • Oh. So the problem with gerrymandering is that it doesn’t elect centrists. This is exactly where the Democrats went wrong in Florida 2000; they demanded recounts only where they thought Gore would win, conceding any moral high ground whatever.

“Mystery of missing votes deepens as Congress investigates Georgia” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “The suspicious results in Winterville are evidence in the ongoing mystery of whether errors with voting machines contributed to a stark drop-off in votes recorded in the race for Georgia lieutenant governor between Republican Geoff Duncan, who ended up winning, and Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico…. ‘Was this completely voter behavior and confusion, or was there something in the machine software or hardware to cause this to happen?’ asked Chris Brill, a senior data analyst for TargetSmart. ‘I’ve never seen a drop-off pattern like this, ever.'” • And the FEC is now out of commission. 2020 is going to be fun.

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of August 24, 2019: “Unemployment claims did edge higher in the latest data but remain favorable, indicating strong demand for labor” [Econoday]. • Not seeing recession warning flags here.

GDP, Q2 (Preliminary): “Consumer spending was stronger than previously estimated in the second quarter, rising at an annual 4.7 percent inflation-adjusted pace. This pace is a reminder that the strong labor market is underpinning the consumer and helping to offset weakness in global growth and the resulting weakness in domestic manufacturing” [Econoday]. “Government spending was also a strong positive in the second quarter, rising at a 4.5 percent pace and reflecting increasing fiscal stimulus at both the federal and state & local levels…. The key for the second quarter was consumer spending and so far in the third quarter strength here appears to be solid once again and may well offset uneven readings for other components, whether business investment or residential investment which are two areas where recent indications have been up and down.” • Ditto.

International Trade in Goods, July 2019: “Net exports open the third quarter favorably” [Econoday]. “Imports show a sharp drop for capital goods in what is an unfavorable indication for domestic business investment… Yet with the notable exception of the drop in food exports, this report is mostly solid especially the overall gain for exports. With inventories lean and consumer spending holding up, improvement in exports could spell a solid third quarter for the US economy.” • Ditto.

Retail Inventories [Advance], July 2019: “In an early boost to third-quarter GDP, retail inventories rose” [Econoday]. “Given the strength of underlying consumer demand, gains for retail inventories are welcome and follow overall contraction.. in June.” • Ditto.

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], July 2019: ‘Wholesale inventories rose in July versus a revised no change in June” [Econoday]. “[I]nventories at the wholesale level have been heavier than for retailers or manufacturers, a factor that may limit the sector’s third-quarter build.”

Pending Home Sales Index, July 2019: “After jumping sharply in June, pending home sales sank sharply in July” [Econoday]. “Yet the showing for the index is nevertheless among the best showings of the last year.”

Corporate Profits, Q2: “after-tax corporate profits rose a year-on-year 1.7 percent in the second quarter” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Shipping wind turbines is not a breeze” [Freight Waves]. “Blades are the most difficult components to transport, due to such variables as equipment model, length and route accommodation. As their length and height continue to grow, [Ben Wilemon, a BNSF Railway spokesperson] said, ‘routes that we previously used for shorter blades can sometimes not accommodate larger models, due to the physical size and capacity of certain areas on our network.'” • It takes a year of planning to ship a wind turbine!

Tech: “TV manufacturers unite to tackle the scourge of motion smoothing” [The Verge]. “The UHD Alliance, a collection of companies who work together to define display standards, has announced Filmmaker Mode, a new TV setting that’s designed to show films as they were originally mastered, with as little post-processing as possible. Although the mode will affect multiple settings like frame rate, aspect ratio, overscanning, and noise reduction, its most important element is that it turns off motion smoothing, which creates that horrible ‘soap opera effect’ that makes even the most expensive films look cheap.” • How unique. Decrapification!

Tech: “The 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard Drives Me Crazy” [Ryan Bigg]. “Apple is all about the thinness of their laptops. I do not particularly care about the thinness of this device…. This keyboard has a key travel distance that, I am sure, is measured in microns or perhaps nanometers. It feels like I am typing on a concrete slab. Key presses inexplicably duplicate. Or don’t register at all. All for thinness. This keyboard is a catastrophic engineering failure, designed by a company that should know better. A company with more money in the bank than several countries combined. This keyboard would be, by far, the part of the MacBook Pro that is used the most by everybody who owns one, and it is so poorly engineered for the pursuit of thinness… I want a fat MacBook pro keyboard, one that has a travel distance of the older wireless keyboards and doesn’t have that “concrete slab” feel. I want to be able to type an entire paragraph without having to go back and correct things because the keyboard failed.” • I believe the term of art is “thicc.” And whiile we’re at it, I want the MagSafe connector back. (The older wireless keyboards are fine. I’m using one now because the keyboard on my 2018 MacBook Air effing failed, as readers will recall. I replaced it once, and I’m not going to do that again.)

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 27 Fear (previous close: 18, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 25 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 29 at 12:30pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

The Biosphere

“No microbiome is an island, unprecedented survey of Hawaiian valley reveals” [Science]. “The data revealed nested microbiomes, akin to Russian dolls. The soil and free-living samples contained the widest range of microbes. Primary producers—plants and algae—hosted the next greatest range, although just a subset of the diversity seen in the valley environment. The plant and algae eaters had a subset of that subset, and carnivores had the least diverse microbiomes of all. Amend and his colleagues concluded that the microbes in the landscape set the stage for those found within hosts. And somehow each organism’s place in the food web helps determine what microbes it acquires.” • This is a fascinating must-read (and reminds us to have some humility, because we don’t know very much).

Water

“The Frightening Spread of Toxic Algae” [The New Republic]. “Toxic algae is one of the quickest-spreading deadly effects of the climate crisis in the United States. As the Arctic’s glaciers melt and the Amazon’s rainforest burns, America’s lakes, rivers, and coastlines are being increasingly infiltrated by several different types of brightly colored, toxic algae bacterium that thrive in warm, nutrient-rich conditions. A report released by the Environmental Working Group earlier this month found toxic algae appearing in more bodies of water, at higher quantities, and earlier in the summer than ever before. It also found that ‘climate change is making things worse, as scientists predict that warming waters coupled with fertilizer and manure washing off farm fields during heavier and more frequent rains may accelerate the frequency and intensity of harmful algal blooms in freshwater.'”

Health Care

“An International Perspective On The Paradoxes Of US Health Care” [Health Affairs]. Lots of paradoxes, but this seems the most salient: “On average, the US spends twice as much as other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries on health care without evidence of superior care or health outcomes. In fact, life expectancy is declining in the US while health care costs continue to rise. Grossly inflated drug and device prices, overall health care costs, and surprise billing are big challenges. Substantial administration and advertising costs are a further unintended consequence of the primacy placed on individual choice. Quite simply, everything is more expensive in the United States than it is in our countries.” • A fine compendium of idiocies and grifts. Welcome to America, Planet Earth.

“Lawyers, consultants to earn millions in the wake of Hahnemann collapse” [Philadelphia Business Journal]. “In court, a [New York-based financial advisory firm EisnerAmper LLP] official estimated the hospital’s owners might end up spending as much as $7 million in professional fees to complete the bankruptcy process. A number of other law firms and consultants are involved in the process — some charging nearly $800 per hour to provide their services. Meanwhile, the 2,500 people who worked at the Philadelphia hospital are facing the possibility they will get little, if any, severance pay.” • Too bad there’s no million-dollar coal train they can stop.

“What Happens When You Don’t Pay a Hospital Bill” [The Atlantic]. ” About 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt dinging their credit, and half of all overdue debt on Americans’ credit reports is from medical expenses, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study from 2014. The debt typically comes from out-of-network doctors who people thought were in-network, hospital stays, or ambulance rides. About one in six Americans received a surprise out-of-network medical bill in 2017 after being treated in a hospital… In an emailed statement, the American Hospital Association told me, “Hospitals and health systems treat all patients who come through their doors, around the clock and regardless of their ability to pay. They work closely with uninsured and low-income patients on their individual bills, including discussing financial-assistance options with them.”” • Very “closely” indeed!

“Burned Out and Drowning — How an ER doc used art to stay afloat” [MedPage Today]. Dr. Matthew Wetschler is rescued from drowning. After vicissitudes: “Wetschler first re-entered the waters of Ocean Beach after his injury in summer 2018 to create his most involved painting to date. Using his entire body as a brush to a 48-by-96-inch canvas covered in gesso acrylic paint, he performed the piece on the stretch of sand where Joll had laid him just a few months before. The canvas lay on the shore, on one side of a 200-foot circle, with the surf on the other. It was dusk, a brisk 60 degrees and dropping. A few of Wetschler’s family and friends, including [his rescuerm, Sebastian] Joll, gathered to watch the ceremony. Eight months into his recovery, Wetschler walked slowly along the perimeter of the circle. He steadily trod through the ocean on one end, gathering sand as he emerged from the sea and continued in a circular motion, before leaving his body’s imprint on the canvas, standing up, and repeating the entire process again. And again. And again. By the time he finished, he had circled the beach more than a dozen times. He was shivering with cold, but was surprisingly energized. He had relearned how to move with the water again, instead of in its opposition. Finally providing himself the space to realize just how close to dying he had come, he was struck by a moment of catharsis. He wept. He calls the piece “Reentry.” Today, it hangs at Winston Wächter Fine Art in Seattle, along with nearly a dozen of his other pieces.” •. This is a beautiful story. It would be even more beautiful if many more had the same opportunities.

Games

“Three Prominent Video Game Developers Accused of Sexual Assault in One Day” [Vice]. “On Monday, Nathalie Lawhead, an independent video game designer from California, published a 6,800 word blog post. Lawhead alleged they were raped by Jeremy Soule, an acclaimed composer known for his work on The Elder Scrolls and Guild Wars series. Hours later, in a lengthy post on Twitter, indie developer Zoe Quinn accused Night in the Woods developer Alec Holowka of sexual abuse and imprisoning Quinn in Holowka’s home in Winnipeg. A third accusation came from a woman named Adelaide Gardner against Luc Shelton of Splash Damage, who worked on Gears of War 4. Gardner told Motherboard Shelton assaulted her in 2018. Soule, Holowka, and Shelton did not respond to requests for comment…. Other prominent women in the industry have corroborated Quinn’s claims…. Gardner previously tweeted her story about Luc Shelton in 2018 during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.”

Groves of Academe

“What We Know About Harvard’s Investments in and Entanglements with the Fossil Fuel Industry” [Divest Harvard, Medium]. “At present, Harvard discloses only about 1% of its now $39.2 billion endowment. After close analysis and research, Divest Harvard found that, of this 1%, a total of $5.6 million is invested in the fossil fuel industry in companies that produce or own reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal, and large utilities powered by natural gas and coal. If that 1% is a representative sample of the whole endowment, that would mean that Harvard has $560 million in fossil fuel investments… Beyond the endowment, Harvard also remains entangled with the fossil fuel industry in its structure of governance and academic programming. Members of the Harvard Corporation have both direct and indirect ties to the industry and oil and gas companies continue to sponsor campus research and events… [I]f Harvard commits to divestment, it has clear options for sustainable and socially responsible reinvestment that remains profitable, thereby honoring HMC’s fiduciary duty to maximize returns on the endowment.”

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

“The 26-Year-Old Defense Attorney Whose First Two Clients Were El Chapo and Jeffrey Epstein” [New York Magazine]. “[Mariel] Colón Miró would go on to join El Chapo’s trial team as an attorney and impress his seasoned defense attorneys so much that one of them hired her to join Jeffrey Epstein’s defense team before the convicted sex offender committed suicide… After Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport, he was put in a cell three doors down from El Chapo at the MCC — though that arrangement only lasted one night. Not long after Epstein’s arrest, Colón Miró was brought onto his legal team by Marc Fernich, another of Guzmán’s attorneys who took on the Epstein case…. Three days before Epstein committed suicide, Colón Miró visited him at the MCC and served as a witness to his will.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Not creepy at all:

I think I know what they want to test:

Guillotine Watch

“Top MPAA Lawyer, Mastermind Behind Its Plan To Attack The Internet, Arrested On Blackmail And Sexual Assault Charges” [TechDirt]. “Beyond being the MPAA’s top legal attack dog for nearly a decade, the Sony Pictures email leak showed that Fabrizio was the mastermind behind Hollywood’s Project Goliath to use MPAA/Hollywood Studio funds to pay for having state Attorney’s General and news media owned by those studios, to attack Google to try to pressure it into some sort of ‘deal’ with the studios. Fabrizio was also formerly the top litigator at the RIAA, and led its charge against Napster. Fabrizio was deeply involved in key copyright lawsuits, including the fights against Grokster, Hotfile, and Aereo. Basically, much of the history of ‘anti-piracy’ litigation and ‘anti-piracy’ efforts regarding the internet, was somehow touched by Steve Fabrizio. Anyway, that’s why it’s a bit shocking to discover that Fabrizio has now been arrested in DC (and fired by the MPAA) for alleged sexual assault and blackmail… That is beyond horrifying — especially given that part of Project Goliath was to try to get various state Attorneys General to argue that Google helped enable sex trafficking and other such things. Apparently, Fabrizio decided to ‘investigate’ things a bit more directly.”

Class Warfare

“It’s not just how the game is played, it’s whether you win or lose” [Science] The abstract: “Growing disparities of income and wealth have prompted extensive survey research to measure the effects on public beliefs about the causes and fairness of economic inequality. However, observational data confound responses to unequal outcomes with highly correlated inequality of opportunity. This study uses a novel experiment to disentangle the effects of unequal outcomes and unequal opportunities on cognitive, normative, and affective responses. Participants were randomly assigned to positions with unequal opportunities for success. Results showed that both winners and losers were less likely to view the outcomes as fair or attributable to skill as the level of redistribution increased, but this effect of redistribution was stronger for winners. Moreover, winners were generally more likely to believe that the game was fair, even when the playing field was most heavily tilted in their favor. In short, it’s not just how the game is played, it’s also whether you win or lose.” • The researchers devised a card game for their experiment, and “therefore caution against generalizing the results to actual economic inequality.” I’d be interested in reader comments on the study design.

News of the Wired

“The Neuroscience of Reality” [Scientific American]. “[W]e have known since Isaac Newton that colors do not exist out there in the world. Instead they are cooked up by the brain from mixtures of different wavelengths of colorless electromagnetic radiation. Colors are a clever trick that evolution has hit on to help the brain keep track of surfaces under changing lighting conditions. And we humans can sense only a tiny slice of the full electromagnetic spectrum, nestled between the lows of infrared and the highs of ultraviolet. Every color we perceive, every part of the totality of each of our visual worlds, comes from this thin slice of reality. Just knowing this is enough to tell us that perceptual experience cannot be a comprehensive representation of an external objective world. It is both less than that and more than that. The reality we experience—the way things seem—is not a direct reflection of what is actually out there. It is a clever construction by the brain, for the brain. And if my brain is different from your brain, my reality may be different from yours, too.”

“We should all be reading more Ursula Le Guin” [The Outline]. This nugget: “‘The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction,’ an essay Le Guin wrote in 1986, disputes the idea that the spear was the earliest human tool, proposing that it was actually the receptacle. Questioning the spear’s phallic, murderous logic, instead Le Guin tells the story of the carrier bag, the sling, the shell, or the gourd. In this empty vessel, early humans could carry more than can be held in the hand and, therefore, gather food for later. Anyone who consistently forgets to bring their tote bag to the supermarket knows how significant this is. And besides, Le Guin writes, the idea that the spear came before the vessel doesn’t even make sense. ‘Sixty-five to eighty percent of what human beings ate in those regions in Paleolithic, Neolithic, and prehistoric times was gathered; only in the extreme Arctic was meat the staple food.'” • Hmm..

Peanuts had a stellar readership:

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

An inviting spot. TH writes, of the Fullerton Arboretum:

The Fullerton Arboretum is one of my favorite places to go to admire flora and fauna. I try to arrive before it opens at 8:00 a.m., in hopes of beating the crowd, generally consisting largely of California State University Fullerton (CSUF) students, for CSUF is the institution at which this 26 acre botanical garden resides. In fact, the garden’s admiring community which stretches far beyond the neighborhood, city, or even county, is holding its collective breath in anticipation of what the University’s administrators will do when the land lease, the Joint Exercise Powers Agreement (JPA) initiated in March 1976, and the Fullerton Arboretum Authority (an agency instituted as a result of the JPA, consisting of University Trustees and the City of Fullerton’s Redevelopment Agency), all collapse at the expiration of the lease and the contract in December 2020.

The University has thus far maintained that while funding and administrative bodies will fall by the wayside, their intention is not to “pave paradise”, as Joni Mitchell so poetically puts it—but will they sprinkle in a few buildings? They’re not willing to say just yet.

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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.

177 comments

    1. Oregoncharles

      Didn’t feel it, but it’s over 200 miles away. I hope it isn’t a sign that the Big One is near. Very exciting to think about, but not to actually experience.

      Reply
    1. notabanker

      The really astounding thing is that Jeff Bezos can buy a newspaper and a country with 250 million people can pretend like it is some bastion of truth and justice, because it proclaims itself so.

      Reply
    2. Jeff W

      I thought the really astounding thing about the Sanders “fact check” article was that, in the article itself, one of the authors of the study that Sanders is relying on said that Sanders got it right—or, if anything, underestimated the number of bankruptcies arising from medically-related events:

      When we asked [David] Himmelstein whether Sanders was quoting his study accurately, he said yes.

      Himmelstein wrote: “37 percent of filers said medical bills ‘very much’ contributed to their bankruptcy. Even if you use that restricted definition, then Sanders’s statement is accurate — or an underestimate.

      “37 percent of 1.9 million [the total number of persons who “undergo” bankruptcy annually] is a bit over 700,000. Even if you only count the husband and wife in a filing, the number suffering a bankruptcy to which medical bills ‘very much’ contributed is about 500,000.”

      Given Sanders’s recent charge of media bias against, specifically, the Washington Post, one can only be astonished, but not surprised, at its temerity.

      Reply
  1. DonCoyote

    How to avoid medical bankruptcy (however many there are) (DoucheLeaks parody)

    We will sell your house, your car, your clothes, your plasma, whatever it takes! Any money left over will be conveniently put in an interest free escrow account to be used to pay your next bill. We free you from worrying about what to sell so you can just worry about how you live without it. Assuming you live at all, of course.

    As an extra bonus, we will preemptively deny all treatment as soon as your balance sheet is completely drained. This exciting new plan will leave you homeless and destitute with a debilitating disease, but at least you won’t go into bankruptcy!

    Reply
  2. Cal2

    “…But to put a confusingly similar party on the ballot borders on GENIUS. We can see why California is a one-party state…”
    Is he implying that the corporate ‘democrats recently put the American Independent Party on the ballot to thwart Bernie?

    Talk about confusing and trying to destroy any breakout from the two party duopoly.

    The AIP is 52 years old. Some historical reading is in order:
    “The AIP was founded by William Shearer on July 8, 1967, in Bakersfield, Calif. The group organized a statewide voter registration drive to place the party’s presidential nominee, former Governor of Alabama George C. Wallace, on the 1968 ballot. Wallace garnered seven percent of the California vote and 14 percent of the national vote. The AIP has maintained ballot access in California since 1968.[2][3]

    http://www.aipca.org/history.html

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      O.K., closer reading shows the above to be Lambert’s fair analysis, and a hypothetical example, not referencing Eowyn’s reflections.

      “UNCOUNTED” A video on youtube is all about the California defrauding of Bernie by the secretary of state, Alex Padilla, who controlled all registrars of voters. He was a Hillary Clinton supporter and he got reelected, thus is in position to screw us again for his corporate ‘democratic masters.

      Elect Bernie a real Democrat.

      Reply
  3. mle detroit

    It takes a year of planning to ship a wind turbine!

    Wouldn’t it be easier to ship a factory to nearby the new wind farm? Maybe the logistics specialists of our military’s Construction Battalions could be genuinely useful to us on this.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      We used to regularly see the turbine cores of those big wind turbine electricity generators being shipped West on I-12 in southern Mississippi. Those things are very big and heavy, roughly the size of small houses being moved. The flatbed trailers used to carry them are specially designed to spread the load over numerous tyres to lower the ‘ground pressure’ of the load. They always had “scout cars” ahead and behind. The units themselves were always shrink wrapped in a thick white plastic shroud. I can well believe that it took a year of advanced planning to move and erect one of those Behemoths.

      Reply
      1. sleepy

        There are a number of wind farms in north Iowa and I frequently see the blades being shipped on local roads. As you say about the core, it’s a big procedure.

        Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        We’ve seen sections of the towers being shipped (trucked, actually) along I-5 in the Columbia Gorge, parts of which are lined with them. Took us a while to figure out what the gigantic pipes were. Don’t think I’ve seen the actual generators on the ground; with all that copper, they’d be heavy indeed.

        Reply
  4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    Totally off topic, but does anyone know of good student loan debt consolidaters? Prolly gonna get a Credit background check run on me soon…

    Reply
    1. Nik

      r/personalfinance and r/personalfinancecanada both have very knowledgeable, helpful communities around this kind of thing.

      Reply
    2. Jason Boxman

      Consolidation? I refinanced my higher APR loans with SoFi, which went well enough. If you refinance with a private company you lose out on the generous unemployment deferrals available for Stafford loans, though. I took advantage of that through several bounds of unemployment.

      Reply
          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            As long as HR has no problems with my E-APP and Background Check…

            But yeah, Inshallah, im moving to Portland. I dont want to say im moving 100% cuz i have this one last hoop to jump through!

            Ill post here when i find out definitively.

            Reply
        1. Cal2

          How about paying off your undischargeable in bankruptcy, student loans, (thank Joe Biden), using credit cards, then doing what corporations do, declare bankruptcy and default on your debt, as a ‘business decision’ and ‘financial reorganization.’

          Reply
        1. ambrit

          I don’t know about the nations mentioned, but some places care more about the nation than the corporations. Not everywhere is like America. (Can we even begin to entertain the thought that; America = CalPERS?)

          Reply
    3. Fiery Hunt

      Nelnet has been pretty straightforward with me. Always got a person on the phone, very easy online.
      6%…

      Best of luck, JHB

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    “Google to shift Pixel smartphone production from China to Vietnam”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It’s a completely different kind of Domino Theory, in that you hope leaving the bigger producer and going to a smaller one, won’t topple your market share.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Well, so far, the American military has not tried to invade and conquer the United States mainland, post 1865 that is.)

        Reply
    1. jo6pac

      Yep, 10 out of 15. It’s amazing in that they are the same personality type and that of course is not a good thingy.

      Reply
      1. Donna

        Well, I got 13/15. Obviously, I spend too much time on Naked Capitalism which keeps me constantly irritated with the status quo. Freaking out right now that Bernie just plummeted and he will not call out Warren on any of her means tested, measly programs.

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          No need to worry. Once Bidens support plummets in the South, Bernie will win down here. Warrens got the support of Rich Dems on Speed dial. Bernies voters are invisible right now to polls!

          Reply
        2. DonCoyote

          13/15, and yes, I see it as too much time spent in the political sphere. Of course, as NTG said, Trump has certain tells.

          Reply
  6. mle detroit

    “Lawyers, consultants to earn millions in the wake of Hahnemann collapse”

    September 1, 2017: “Nearly 20 years after coming to Philadelphia to save eight bankrupt hospitals, Tenet Healthcare Corp. said Friday it was selling its last two facilities here, agreeing to unload Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to a private equity-backed California firm for $170 million. The buyer, Paladin Healthcare of El Segundo, is purchasing the facilities through a new affiliate called American Academic Health System LLC. Paladin owns four hospitals in low-income areas of Los Angeles County with 497 beds. The company also manages the 280-bed Howard University Hospital in Washington.”

    It’s all about the Benjamins.

    Reply
    1. dearieme

      That well populated spot, the tip of one’s tongue. He’s just too old for this lark, and anyway he was never much cop in the first place.

      Reply
      1. DonCoyote

        On policy, no, but he used to be a pretty good debater. Go look at him in the VP debates of 2008 and 2012, he could sell centrism with the best of them.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I remember about 20 really concerned friends getting together to watch the Biden-Palin VP debate, and oh how we wanted him to dispatch her to the nether regions, and it was only 11 years ago, but seems closer to a century.

          In Joe’s defense, there wasn’t much to beat…

          Reply
        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          I kind of gave up on politics on video after that, frankly. Had a Stockdale Moment that finally stuck. It had an anti Gell-Mann effect.

          Reply
    2. Jeff W

      As Michael Tracey says, we’re past calling these episodes ‘gaffes’.

      “Joe Biden isn’t ‘gaffe-prone’, he’s losing his mind” [Michael Tracey The Spectator | USA] here

      Reply
  7. dearieme

    A company with more money in the bank than several countries combined

    What? Almost no countries have “money in the bank”. They are almost all in hock.

    Reply
  8. Hepativore

    So, is there any cause for concern at this point that Sanders will hesitate to challenge Elizabeth Warren or go after her too harshly? As it is becoming increasingly clear that it is going to come down between Warren and Sanders for the primaries due to Biden self-destructing as we speak, this could be a possibility.

    Sanders and Warren have shown that they have an unofficial “alliance” with each other. The problem is that Warren is increasingly trying to court the DNC establishment and it looks like they are more than willing to throw their weight behind her in order to stop Sanders from winning. While a Warren presidency would still be better than most other Democratic candidates, she is getting uneasily close to the remaining Clintonites and Third Way types in the party.

    Warren has shown that she will put the progress of her own political career ahead of policy in the past. I am afraid that the Third Way Democrats are going to try and use her as a Trojan horse to advance neoliberalism should should she become president. Warren has demonstrated that she can be bullied by both Trump and the DNC so I do not trust her to stand up to the likes of Pelosi and Schumer, considering how she has heaped praise upon Joe Manchin.

    At this point, I would hesitate to even have her as a Vice President pick for Sanders.

    Reply
    1. Grant

      “Warren has demonstrated that she can be bullied by both Trump and the DNC so I do not trust her to stand up to the likes of Pelosi and Schumer, considering how she has heaped praise upon Joe Manchin.”

      Forget Pelosi and Schumer, they are puppets. Who is pulling their strings? She will not challenge the private interests behind Pelosi and Schumer, and she was never great on foreign policy, single payer and a number of other issues to begin with. She has received money from private interests that are troubling, and it helps to explain her bad record on foreign policy. I have had a big problem in the way progressive sites like Commondreams and online news outlets like TYT have been covering them two for some time now. They are not alike in a number of ways, and it matters a lot. She has hired a number of advisers that are problematic and has already said that she may take corporate bribes in the general election, if she wins the primary. Remember Obama’s rhetoric during his first run. Melted away the closer he got to power. Most of Warren’s plans will be nice, shining things that will be quickly brushed aside for what will be called “pragmatism”, cause the radical changes that we need will require her to challenge the people she is clearly courting. All the hack Democratic consultants on CNN, NPR and MSNBC, they are pushing her because they know that in her administration, they may have a role and they, along with the “journalists” on those networks, will maintain their access to power and connections. Many of their friends and possibly they will be hired on. There is no role for most of them if Bernie wins, and I think she is progressive enough for people not paying tons of attention to take down Bernie. She could pull one over on them, get them on her side, and once she has it name Bernie her VP, but that realistically won’t happen. She will not get a majority of the delegates in the first round, and the superdelegates will only back her based on assurances that Bernie is not given a role in her administration. What do people expect if someone like Bernie runs in a party that horrible and corrupt. We will not have the chance to vote for someone nearly as good as Bernie any time soon, and it will be a gigantic missed opportunity if he cannot pull it off. Given the party he is running in, and the zombies that vote in the primaries, even if he wins more than she does, they will not give it to him. They’re rather see the thing explode than hand it over to him, and us all by extension. The sad thing is, if Bernie gets hosed again, he is likely to campaign strongly for her, and she knows it.

      Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Elizabeth Warren has “met” with the CAP at least three times that we know of, and has been seen courting the very FIRE bodies she claims she’s going to be hard on. The idea she’s anything but a ringer, especially given she only became a Democrat in the first place to run for the Senate against a Republican incumbent, is absurd on its face.

      The sudden increase in positive MSM coverage on Warren after it became clear Kamala Harris had too much baggage as AG in California to be viable among the VoC demographic, trying to frame her as a progressive and which has continued to this day up to and including allowing a political consultant to go on-air and endorse her on a major “news” network, makes it clear she’s the new Anointed unless someone else better appears.

      The sudden onslaught of alleged Sanders ’16 supporters among the 18-49 demo now claiming to have swung to Yang and touting his “modern” ideas as utterly superior to Sanders’ “old-fashioned for the 20th century” policies, which began late last week, is also telling. It began after the huge percentage of that demographic who support Sanders made it past the Bernie Blackout.

      It’s also notable that the active shunning of Tulsi Gabbard began after more and more Sanders supporters expressed an interest in a Sanders/Gabbard ticket, having fully discovered Warren’s neoliberal clay feet.

      You aren’t going to get any real sense of what’s going on in the campaigns at this point from the media, and the independent media are having an even harder time getting the word out. Twitter just issued notice it will no longer accept promotional ads from “state-sponsored media”, which means the only state-sponsored messages we’ll hear are the US versions.

      Having learned from the National Socialist GWP the proper way to facilitate a fascist takeover, the US has established its physical empire first via the 800+ military installations worldwide, and the transition of the government can now proceed apace at home. Convince me I’m wrong, because I’m terrified.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Can someone please ask Liz what the recent $650,000 payment to David Brock was for?
        David Friggin Brock.
        And her advisor “It Would Be Worth It” Albright too

        Reply
      2. Pespi

        You’re exactly right. She’s the one. Whether back up for old Joe or as a replacement for the useless Kamala Harris.

        Her support for Dow disqualifies her to me, immediately. I have personal experience with a family member becoming deathly ill due to breast implants. Women who have breast implant illness have said it made them feel worse than chemotherapy. It is suffering all day, every day, and every night, as insomnia is a very common symptom.

        Implants were never properly tested and never should have been declared medical devices by the FDA. It’s only ongoing corruption at the FDA that allows these purposeless cosmetic things to continue being used, and to kill and ruin lives. It’s evil, they are evil to their core.

        I understand that corporate lawyers represent corporations, but the amount of ethics that you’d need to suppress, the amount of hideous injustice you’d be doing to the other side, I don’t think I could support someone like that as president. And I do see Warren happily keeping the status quo humming, misery for all and mercy for none.

        Reply
    3. inode_buddha

      This is kinda what I was afraid of. If the Dems refuse to nominate Sanders I would suggest mobilizing that massive ground game of his to write him in during the actual elections.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        A write in candidacy could win in theory, but when eveen orthodox, legitimate paper ballots are almost routinely disqualified, or just “lost,” what chance does even an overwhelming margin of victory by both the popular and electoral vote have?

        I can honestly see a national grassroots popular write-in campaign, if only because seeing someone cheated out of an honest win, because probably a majority of Americans, regardless of political ideology or interests, would be angry. Just as many Americans used a vote for Trump as to flip the bird to the Powers That Be, so would a vote for Sanders, Gabbard, or even Warren would also be.

        That is a fear of mine. Civil unrest, revolts, revolutions don’t just occur because people are bored. They happen because people feel like they have nothing to lose and are angry enough to do something about it. So far Americans have some faith, or still have enough personal inertia, to not get actively, openly, even violently angry. That can change in a moment.

        It could all come down to what the Nine, the Supreme Court decides because that would have multiple appeals in such a moment. Here’s hoping we don’t have another Dred Scott, or Bush v. Gore decision

        Reply
        1. jsn

          Should Sanders actually make it on the ballot, there will have to be a nation wide mobilization on election day to document the digital voting fraud adequately to contest it in court.

          The system is so committed to destroying itself through blindness, greed and overweening power that it will brutally resist any attempt to save it.

          None the less, the attempt needs to be made: it could succeed, it will certainly set the foundation for whatever comes next!

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            1968 and Days of Rage come to mind. Democratic Convention, Chicago 1968. Protesters need to rock up ready for action. They need to follow the backroom dealing that will steal it from Bernie in realtime and then rage.

            Or

            Just go gently into that good night

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Protesters might want to think of another way to protest than in targetable mass bunches.

              Or if they are going to gather in targetable bunches, they should think about how to neutralize technologies like the L-RAD Deafenizer, the Raytheon mobile microwave crowd-control microwave gun, etc.

              Reply
        2. polecat

          The Nazgul are corpserate owned – Bush v Gore, ACA ‘mandate, $$$$ Citizens United …
          They won’t do what’s right for the country as a whole.

          They are Not Good Guys Who Wear Black !

          Reply
    4. russell1200

      Sanders and Warren are expected to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire. The big test will be South Carolina with a dog fight between Warren, Sanders, Biden and Harris.

      Biden is still the front runner and if has a strong win in South Carolina it could hit the reset button right before Super Tuesday. I think we are a long way from it being a Warren-Sanders race.

      My preference is for Warren. I like Sanders well enough, but I find a lot of the Sanders supporters verbiage (see below) to be a bit off putting.

      My personal guess is that they have a non-aggression pact because they want to shift the debate to the left (which seems to have worked very well) and that if either of them get to be the nominee without infighting on the left, there is a much better chance of getting a progressive in the White House and maybe even turning the Senate.

      And it wouldn’t be such a bad consolation price to be an influential Senator, with a Progressive President and a Democratically held House.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        “The big test will be South Carolina with a dog fight between Warren, Sanders, Biden and Harris.”

        Somewhere in there is the assumption that black people are too dumb to learn about The Kamaleon Cop’s history and will just vote for her mostly East Indian and Irish slave-owning ancestry face in the primary.

        “Peoples had been arrested for her sick daughter’s spotty school attendance record under a truancy law that then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris had personally championed in the state legislature. The law, enacted in January 2011, made it a criminal misdemeanor for parents to allow kids in kindergarten through eighth grade to miss more than 10 percent of school days without a valid excuse.”
        https://www.huffpost.com/entry/kamala-harris-truancy-arrests-2020-progressive-prosecutor_n_5c995789e4b0f7bfa1b57d2e

        The Kamaleon’s nose under the oligarch donor’s tent:
        “Even Sanders’ proposals for small reforms have been declared unacceptable.”

        “Harris has already shown herself to be compliant to the right people. As attorney general of California she refused to prosecute OneWest Bank in 2013 despite proof that it violated the law in foreclosing on more than 1,000 mortgages. Soros was a co-owner of OneWest at the time and he sold it for $3.4 billion the following year. Prosecutors are known for being able to make anyone look guilty and for pursuing cases that keep them in the limelight. The OneWest Bank case surely fit that bill but no ambitious Democrat would dare to lay a finger on George Soros…”

        https://www.blackagendareport.com/kamal_harris_new_obama

        Bugs, if Kamala tarnishes any Democratic ticket, Trump can just play golf throughout the election season and won’t have to even bother campaigning.

        Reply
      2. Grant

        It is a bit privileged to decide to vote for someone based on their supporters. You might find me offputting, that will have no impact on whether or not someone dies because because of the decisions they make on healthcare policy, or whether or not their environmental policies match what the science says we need.

        Besides, many Bernie supporters are a bit reactive at times, but it isn’t as if they exist in a vacuum. The media lies, galights people and does really manipulate attacks against the person they support, and the data shows that lower income people, the young and people of color support him more than her. Those that support her do tend to be more well off, have more formal education and are older. So, those people that offend you, they might feel that their candidate might make it less likely that their children have lead in their water. They might think he will more effectively fight for them and might do a better job at bringing about a healthcare system that will not kill them because they are low income workers. There are qualitative, ideological and stategic differences. Maybe think of this more from their vantage point, and try to take an honest look at how the media, owned by the rich and corporations, covers him. What impact will those lies have on them if someone that would more effectively fight on their behalf loses because of those lies. How do they now cover him relative to her? It is obvious to me why people are running out of patience in regards to nonsense attacks, propaganda, lies and gaslighting. I would also think a bit about the fact that the media is clearly pushing for her. Sorry, but anyone someone like David Brock and Zerlina Maxwell is pushing for in this primary is necessarily more suspect. If you can’t see why, it is because you don’t want to.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The only way that can happen is if the millions of SanderBackers and millions of WarrenWanters all individually decide to all support whichever of the two candidates has a higher number of supporters of the relevant type at the relevant time.

        Can all these millions and millions of people pre-decide in-advance to do that? And then actually go ahead and do that?

        It would require an extreme level of icy dispassion and a savage sense of lethal strategy.

        Reply
    5. Bugs Bunny

      I can’t be the only one here who believes that Trump will win by a giant landslide if Warren is the candidate. He’s going to run everything he has against her and the oppo will be endless and ultimately disgusting.

      Reply
      1. inode_buddha

        Basically I think Sanders is the only one who stands a good chance against Trump. Sanders has been in politics longer than Trump has been into anything, and has the voting record to back it up.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Even my lefty friends are shit scared of the word socialism, it’s been bred in us to only think of the worst case scenarios in the past, and not pay much attention to modern socialism.

          Now, how you overcome a word, i’m not sure.

          Reply
            1. richard

              yep
              It’s amazing how I often I hear some variant of “we all have the same goal”
              from liberals who don’t have the same goal as me at all. Call them on it every time please.
              This is how warren and sanders is going to shake out, you know
              It’s just going to happen exactly like this, and there’s no way to avoid it so we can stop pretending now. It won’t be amicable. We’re going to have to leave them behind and that’s that. Sanders gathers from the unrepresented, non-voters, independents. They can join (awesome) or pound sand.

              Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Yeah, turning a word into a curse is a useful thing.

            I have to say that having people calling everything but the police and the military as socialism funny. Everything from the USPS to public healthcare or even the CDC and everyone from Obama to the Clintons as the evil communism also and threats to our freedoms and the American way of life makes the supposed insult of being a socialist rather meh.

            The terms Leftist, Communism, Socialism, Democratic Socialism, Social Democratic, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Conservatism, Rightist, Nationalism, American, Patriotism, Nation, State, Government and even Democracy have all been deliberately stripped of any factual meaning in our national conversation.

            Which is the point isn’t? How can we change things when even the words to our conversations have no meaning?

            Reply
            1. inode_buddha

              Simple. Ask people how much freedom they have when they can’t afford anything. Then show them how the big bad government didn’t take all their money — their employer didn’t pay them any.

              Reply
            2. inode_buddha

              I have curse words too, and I’m not afraid to use them. “Private Sector” is one of them. Challenge people to show how the private sector has lived up to anything but sheer avarice. Challenge people to show where it has played on a level playing field.

              Reply
      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        If there’s a recession before the election, Trump will impolitely point out, out loud, the way that the Democratic Party handled the last one and then make a joke of the Warren/Harris “Whip Recession Now” policy package.

        Reply
      1. Plenue

        GamerGate is equal parts complicated and utterly stupid. Neither side comes out looking great. You have one side that insists it only cares about ethics, but then is prone to various forms of misogyny and bigotry that have nothing to do with journalism (lots of rants about ‘SJWs ruining gaming’ etc). But then you have the other side that refuses to consider anything might be wrong journalistically (video game journalism really is uniformly poor) and refuses to have that conversation and just accuses every critic of being a sexist gamergater. Both are prone to ugly groupthink and hivemind actions (also both engage in doxxing, while bafflingly each portrays the other side as evil doxxers).

        I washed my hands of both sides after the BroTeamPill incident, in which BTP (despite the name, not a team, just one guy), who makes crappy (he’d be the first one to say they suck) videogame videos, inadvertently became a target of the anti-GG gestalt. What’s especially ludicrous about this is that not only was he never part of GG, he once accidentally got an AngryJoeShow (a terrible game reviewer YouTube ‘celebrity’) video temporarily taken down that featured the BroTeamPill logo as part of the GamerGate faction (he didn’t realize just filing a complaint with YT instantly gets a video blocked). So his sole involvement in the fight was a misstep in which he tried not to be associated with the fight.

        Then he Tweeted a stupid joke at Anita Sarkeesian, which was stupid and crass, but had nothing to do with video games (it was about the Armenian Genocide). After which he was dogpilled by the anti-GG crowd, who talked among themselves about how this guy (that I can guarantee most had never even heard of before) was a long-time, known GGer. I watched it happen in real-time. Any dissent was removed by moderators (ask me how I know). An absurd display of groupthink

        Later someone sent BTP hours of chat-logs in which anti-GGers didn’t exactly crown themselves with glory (the biggest highlight is probably the guy trying to find child porn on the deep web, so he can post it to 4chan and get 4chan shutdown. At what stage in that plan do you not ponder “…what am I doing?”).

        Anyway, on the subject of current events, Zoe Quinn is not a particularly reliable source of information. The appearance of other accusers bolsters the case, but it’s also possible they could all simply be lying. The recent ProJared affair should make people proceed with caution https://www.popdust.com/projared-defense-2640090164.html

        I particularly hope the Jeremy Soule accusations aren’t true.

        Reply
  9. Tim

    “Oh. So the problem with gerrymandering is that it doesn’t elect centrists.”

    Yes it is actually, it forces people to adhere staunchly to the opposing parties’ platform. In a better world it’s a terrain not a left-right continuum, right? Eliminating gerrymandering would allow people to represent what they believe are the ideas in the best interest of the country whether or not it aligns perfectly with one part or the other.

    I consider myself a centrist and I hate the class warfare the rich is engaged in, the kleptocracy. I like socialistic policies too, we just always need to be cognizant of moral hazard that may be embedded in them in the same way there may be moral hazard embedded in libertarian policies.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      I consider myself a centrist and I hate the class warfare the rich is engaged in

      That’s some amazing cognitive dissonance. “Centrism” is the war against the working class. The entire purpose of fetishizing language like “centrism”, “middle of the road”, “pragmatic”, etc., was to convince working people to vote for a massive transfer of wealth they would never have approved otherwise.

      The reason “centrism” and all these phony ideologies are doing so poorly politically these days is simple: they failed on policy and moral grounds. Their political capital is spent and they’re out of ideas.

      Reply
      1. Jeff W

        “Centrism typically refers to itself as the ‘rational middle’ but really it’s a fringe movement trying to defend the economic preferences of the 1%.”
        —Waleed Shahid

        Reply
    2. Darius

      So gerrymandering helps white supremacist Republicans win against corrupt corporate Democrats. Obama is trying to tip the scales in favor of corrupt corporate Democrats?

      Reply
    3. inode_buddha

      As if the Overton Window doesn’t exist, and the entire political spectrum is fixed in stone. It is not. Nixon would be unelectable today because he was to the left of today’s democrats. So you have to ask yourself: Centrism is in the center of *what*? The center moves when the entire thing moves, and it has indeed moved hard right in the last 40 years. Much to the detriment of everyone in the lower and middle classes. Coincidence? History is against it…

      Reply
    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      If we’re going to run a Monopoly Game, everyone has to collect $200 dollars when they pass go or they will quit.

      I could phrase it as sweat equity, but politics is all about not being honest.

      Reply
  10. Carolinian

    Don’t have anything to report about Biden’s appearance here yesterday but the local paper said he spoke for a full hour so maybe his staff has started giving him vitamins.

    Afterwards he repaired to the Krispy Kreme for some glazed, artery clogging goodness. The iconic donut shop hails from that other Carolina but we were early adopters.

    Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    I’ve run into the word ‘chocolatey’ a few times in the past week, written on candy and ice cream in the description, just had Breyers Waffle Cone ice cream, with chocolatey chips for instance.

    Is it just a dodge from not saying the word chocolate, which might imply there is cocoa within?

    Reply
    1. turtle

      The FDA actually regulates what can legally be called “chocolate”. In other words, “chocolatey” is not considered chocolate by the FDA.

      Reply
      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Come on, next thing you’ll be telling me Toucan Sam® was lying to us about Froot Loops®! The flavour of Froot!

        Reminds me of a US gas fired power plant project that had the chutzpah to call itself “Kleen Energy”. After the project tragically suffered a multiple fatality explosion during pipe testing, I commented that “Saf-T” must have been the contractor’s top priority. :-/

        Reply
  12. Summer

    “Google to shift Pixel smartphone production from China to Vietnam…”

    Well, now I know what will bring manufacturing back to the USA. It needs to get throughly blasted.

    Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      so Google will have access to an experienced workforce.

      My reaction too. Is this about craftsmen who can create a product, or dropping a heavy metal sweatshop into a region that is too beaten down to resist?

      Foxconn in Wisconsin does not make me hopeful.

      Reply
  13. petal

    Oh my. That event just keeps getting better and better.
    As he campaigns for president, Joe Biden tells a moving but false war story
    “Except almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect. Based on interviews with more than a dozen U.S. troops, their commanders and Biden campaign officials, it appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The local eatery/bar on the river has new writing on the wall as you’re entering the restaurant “serving veterans since 1997”, and so it goes, we pander to the last refuge of a scandalous nation.

      The other 99% of their clientele?, so much chopped liver.

      Reply
    2. Carey

      Thanks for the link, petal. My guess is that this is part of an elites’
      switch to Warren, as very well covered in comments above.

      Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    That’s funny, DARPA is looking for a series of underground tubes, not too far off from Ted Stevens idea of what the internet was.

    Reply
      1. richard

        wait, is that from that game with the zombies?
        wouldn’t that be cool if we flooded their elite chamber with zombies?
        the problem is zombies aren’t really very cool anymore. so hardly anyone would watch.

        Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      So, the all-knowing federales aren’t aware of all the bolt holes out there? Yet?

      I’m a reflexive conspiracy-theorist on the everyone-is-an-idiot thesis.

      Reply
    2. Acacia

      They probably want to release some “harmless” pathogens and measure how they spread. Nothing related to testing bug-worthiness of elite hide-out bunkers, of course.

      Reply
  15. Dita

    Re Healthcare and Class Warfare, from where I sit in the cheap seats, it seems a key to wealth accumulation in America is simply levering the tax code? Why not enable people to deduct healthcare costs including insurance premiums from their income tax, eliminating the thresholds. Deduct credit card interest, student loan interest, roll back the 2005 bankruptcy changes. Both parties are complicit in killing the golden goose, a/k/a the American “consumer” via wage stagnation and price gouging, while demanding we buy $1K phones without dongles, while working 3 jobs. I’m for Bernie, but whether he wins or not, as Tancredi says in The Leopard, For everything to stay the same, everything must change.

    Reply
      1. a different chris

        Noooope.

        >Why not enable people to deduct healthcare costs including insurance premiums from their income tax,

        Because richer people have more tax to deduct. If I pay 10000 for healthcare and only 8000 in taxes then Richey Rich saves $2K more than I do (and probably works in management for a health care insurance company.) Unless you want to make it refundable. In that case Uncle Sam is subsidizing varying health care plans. Hmmm bet that will work out well — oh wait, that’s what we have with employer insurance.

        If you want everything to change, you have to stop acting like healthcare costs and student loan interest in particular are forces of nature with nobody behind it.

        Reply
        1. Dita

          It would be a huge philosophical shift in the tax code, no doubt. Refunds, yes. I’m backing Bernie, but I think it would be useful to have other weapons, other ideas to hand, in case he doesn’t win, so the pressure is sustained on both parties.

          Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Why not enable people to deduct healthcare costs including insurance premiums from their income tax, eliminating the thresholds. Deduct credit card interest, student loan interest, roll back the 2005 bankruptcy changes

      I think the operative phrase is core inflation. All those things you are suggesting to pull back would hurt important people.

      I’m still working out how the boomers are going to retire on the second tier wages that they negotiated for gen-x. I don’t think it works out.

      Reply
  16. Oregoncharles

    “This applies to all “independent” California voters:”
    And in Oregon, too, with some differences. The Independent Party in Oregon is home-grown and not right wing – doesn’t have much of an ideology at all – but it does have a very clever name. So clever that it now qualifies as a “major” party, so there are 3 in Oregon. But it has low voter loyalty, because so many of its members thought they were “independents.” Lower case. For that, you have to be “unaffiliated.”

    Oregon has closed primaries and Bernie won by a large margin last time, so it matters less. People do quite a bit of registration switching – the Oregon Pac. Green Party saw huge flows in 2016, out before the primary and back in after Bernie lost the nomination. I expect to see those again.

    Reply
  17. JBird4049

    “Burned Out and Drowning — How an ER doc used art to stay afloat” [MedPage Today]. Dr. Matthew Wetschler is rescued from drowning.

    Swimming Ocean Beach in San Francisco is like trying out for the Darwin Award. The beach is easy to get to with the Great Highway running along it, but the beach has fabulous riptides that very easily pull people out into the ocean. It’s like a lethal watery honeytrap.

    If you are in decent shape, it’s not really a problem. You just let the current pull you to the other side of the beach where the current is incoming, not outgoing. However, every year some overconfident swimmers try to swim against the ocean current and drown in sight of the city.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      You can’t tell me that DARPA hasn’t got their greasy fingers in that blackhole budget of 22 trillion … so why the call for Strangelovian digs va suggestions by the plebs ? Is it to lend an air of warm obfuscatory fuzziness so that the public will forget their Real Purpose .. which is the promotion of DEATH TO THOSE WHO DON’T PLAY THE HEGEMON’$ BALL .. through the wonderous means of TECHNICAL ADVANCEMENT ??

      Reply
      1. Summer

        The other laughable aspect of it is they imagine they…the greatest purveyors of violence…are going to maintain 100 or so years of peace under ground with each other. They would be crowding into a cave because of egoism and selfishness.

        Reply
  18. Pat

    Funny how suddenly Warren is number 2 (they must really love that YouGov poll. I’m not sure having Biden flanked by Warren and Sanders is really a winning situation for Biden – they will have to spruce and rev him up a bundle in order to disguise his increasing feebleness compared to the spry and alert Warren and the other older guy who can run down most of his younger compatriots. Otherwise it just sounds…painful.

    https://deadline.com/2019/08/democratic-debate-stage-order-abc-univision-10-candidates-1202707507/

    Reply
    1. Redlife2017

      YouGov has been rubbish in the UK since before Brexit. They seem to structure their polls to tell a very establishment story and are consistently an outlier of other polling firms in the UK. Sorryj don’t have a link for that, but just my own experience…

      Reply
  19. Darius

    I was prevented from refinancing my house in a formerly gentrifying area in DC because in the last six months its value has dipped below the purchase price from two and a half years ago. Other houses in this attractive but not posh neighborhood are stagnant also. I’m taking it as an indicator of approaching recession.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The 1st National Bank of your House goes into receivership, at around the same time insurers don’t want you as a customer so much, due a lack of F.I.R.E. and the potential of wildfire.

      Warning signs abound for the bogusist economy ever…

      Reply
    2. Monty

      Sorry to hear that. In this part of AZ they are selling for 2008 prices, after a brief foray above that at some point in the last decade. Some other parts are going up up up though.

      Reply
      1. Wyoming

        Really? Wow. Where do you live in AZ.

        In my area of AZ the prices have shot up. Our house is up about 20+ % since Spring 2013. People in my neighborhood are flipping houses 2-3 years after purchase.

        Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    Why Today’s Cryptocurrency Crash Could, in Part, Be Blamed on Burning Man

    Cryptocurrencies plunged suddenly in afternoon trading on Wednesday, spurring a guessing game of potential catalyst among enthusiasts and investors. The price of Bitcoin dropped below $10,000 for the first time since July.

    The largest digital token fell as much as 5.6%, before trading at $9,686 as of 3:40 p.m. in New York. Peer coins also sold off, with Bitcoin Cash falling close to 4% and Litecoin dropping about 8%.

    “It’s the week before Labor Day. Half of crypto is at Burning Man and the other half is sitting on their hands doing nothing,” he said. “Volumes are low and it takes very little to move markets right now, and you have big futures/options expirations coming up at the end of the week. The only definitive thing I can point to is that the move was led by declines in EOS, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC and other large-cap tokens that have been out of favor for months. I just don’t think there are a lot of investors willing to defend price right now.”

    https://fortune.com/2019/08/28/cryptocurrency-bitcoin-dropped/

    Kind of funny, in that there is basically no use for money @ Burning Man, aside from buying bags of ice or coffee/tea for $3. That’s it for your spending possibilities…

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I went from 2003 to 2009. My Burner friends tell me that I was there in the glory daze, and I remember thinking in 2007, that this is what Haight-Ashbury must’ve been like in 1966.

        One thing that made it attractive to me, was the resemblance to a backpack trip in the Sierra where no outside information ever intrudes, but that was then and this is now, and it’s all wired up, boo-hiss.

        Reply
    1. Carey

      Thanks for the link. I thought the author misfired a bit here and there, but has Warren and the Pres race™
      more-or-less right.

      Reply
  21. barrisj

    That Obama “initiative” on combatting gerrymandering would be a laudable undertaking, were it not for the business of expanding volunteers and organizations “on the state and local level”, which is precisely where all the carnage happened during his two terms…complete and willful ignorance of the Demo Party on the state and local level beginning in 2010 brought us to where we are today. Such boundless insolence and hypocrisy.

    Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If gerrymandering is such a problem, then isn’t Obama one of the radical extremists? Hillary did win more votes than Obama in the primaries. She didn’t understand delegate allocation and didn’t use resources well, but in a proper one man, one vote system, Obama would just be the current Corey Booker.

        Reply
    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      ‘Gerrymandering’ makes me laugh. The DNC has no ambition for statewide office in Florida. None. Crist was too populist for them.

      My county is purple and that is stupid.

      Reply
  22. BGGB

    the MagSafe was one of the best advances in computer technology… maybe ever.

    So of course Apple abandoned it.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Yes, I bought my last laptop, a 2009 Macbook, mainly because it still had a user-removable battery and
      the magsafe connector. Now I just need to put some form of Linux on the thing, because Mac OSs have
      gotten steadily worse (spyware, malware, negative-value ‘features’) since 8.1 or so, IMO..

      Reply
    2. BobW

      Yes, I bricked a ThinkPad by tangling up in the charger cord one sleepy morning. Used to use a work-supplied MacBook Pro with MagSafe (lookie all the “camel caps”) and loved it. Our IT guy kept the upgrades to a safe (ancient) version. Still, not going to go Mac, using Linux at home.

      Reply
  23. Carey

    John Steppling- ‘The Reality Brokers (or the Rise of the Automagicians)’:

    “..Whether it’s Twitter or Snapchat or whatever, the overriding quality associated with each platform is limited space for expression and impermanence. Snapchat is designed to literally disappear before your eyes. Twitter is particularly pathological in that it is all but impossible to have discussions, or debates there, but excels at individual declarations of fact — the users own sense of ‘fact’ that is. It has been noted by several studies about social media that those who engage in prolonged use tend to increasingly feel real life face to face interaction as persecutory. My own experience of Twitter and Facebook is that it directly breeds paranoia. And for dissident or radical left voices that paranoia is already well established, usually. It’s hard to be a socialist in America and not feel paranoia..”

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/08/29/the-reality-brokers-or-the-rise-of-the-automagicians/

    Reply
  24. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: “Jobless Claims, week of August 24, 2019: “Unemployment claims did edge higher in the latest data but remain favorable, indicating strong demand for labor” [Econoday]. • Not seeing recession warning flags here.”

    Can we really predict a recession based on past experiences anymore? I mean with QE and these ridiculous interest rates, who says the warning flags will be the same at all?

    I see a strong demand for labor and higher consumer spending a result of debt, not production.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Oh come on ! It’s the Great Gigged Economy … and you, and I, and the rest of the rabble are what’s for dinner !

      I don’t believe much of the GOV.’$ made-up wool they try to pull over us. They’re not credible by any stretch.
      It’s end-of-empire smoke and mirrors.

      Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I am of the view that Capitalism as we knew it effectively died in 2008.

      I am wondering if Trump keeping the chaos chaotic is the only thing keeping the old positive feedback loop alive.

      Reply
  25. ewmayer

    “Shipping wind turbines is not a breeze” [Freight Waves] — This sort of oversized-item transport would be an ideal role for a fleet of modern dirigibles. Bring back the Zeppelins*!
    ——–
    * (The aerial craft, not the armadillos-in-their-tight-trousers band, who would now represent the archetypical Spinal-Tappian “bunch of old geezers, fartin’ around on stage”).

    Reply
  26. JohnnyGL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6LV93jKkXs

    Anya Parampil goes on Tucker Carlson to discuss Honduras.

    I don’t think I’d call Tucker Carlson an ‘ally’. However, he’s had on Glenn Greenwald, Michael Tracey, Anya Parampil, Tulsi Gabbard, Max Blumenthal. I don’t think he’s an enemy, either.

    Lefty journos can’t get much of a sniff on MSNBC. TYT has been given a spot on the outer-most edge of acceptability.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      A true-left / paleo-right alliance is one of the few hopes, IMO; ‘centrism’s’ design being to eliminate most
      of us, step by step.

      Reply
  27. John k

    Ilargi links to Frances Coppola’s discussion of Pettis’ Support of a bill before congress that would tax capital imports, with the aim of reducing our trade deficit in place of tariffs.
    She thinks it would make things worse, even boosting the desire of foreigners to save our financial assets.
    And just now, with hk upsetting Asia, Brexit maybe about to upset a Europe already moving into recession, fires in Brazil, the desire to save in us denominated assets looks likely to continue, maybe to increase, driving the dollar higher (to trumps annoyance.)

    Reply
  28. The Rev Kev

    “We should all be reading more Ursula Le Guin”

    However good an author Le Gun was, sometimes a spear is just a spear. Look, one time a spear was just a stabbing weapon which meant that you had to get up close and personal with wild game who would not be happy about the experience and would take it out on the hunters leading to lots of injuries. They did a survey of ancient bones looking for injuries once and then compared them to modern ones. The one profession that matched the set of ancient injuries they found were modern day rodeo riders! Then one day a hunter named Gronk said ‘Hey fellas, why don’t we throw these things at animals from a distance instead?’ and so we went on from there. So a throwing spear extends your range of effectiveness with a corresponding reduction of injury and death. Not exactly phallic that unless you count that night’s celebrations of a successful hunt. A spear targets mobile food resources.
    The carrier bag is also for targeting food resources but immobile ones like plants, mushrooms, etc. Australian Aborigine women would go along in an extended line going for targets of opportunity for plants, mushrooms, whatever. A carrier bag extends how much you can carry. Look, you see this in video games like PUBG where when you pick up a bag, you can carry more gear that extends your chances of surviving. So yes, a carrier bag is just a carrier bag and if Le Guin is trying to imply that a spear is a phallic device and a carrier bag a substitute for a vagina, that is not really a thing. Both the spear and the carrier bag are two forms for the same purpose and you cannot have one without the other in survival. Old Gronk may have loved his spear and named it and cared for it but his mate Shad felt the same about her carrier bag which became an expression of her personality. Both objects have their own stories to tell but trying to elevate one at the expense of the other is like trying to decide whose story should be elevated more – engineers or writers. There is too much theory trying to be crammed into a simple carrier bag by Le Guin here.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Saw the Iceman in Bolzano 4 days after 9/11, and he was just another dead guy all kinda mummy looking, and in a jack-knife position of a sort, but his gear, oh my gosh.

      My favorite was the leather pouch he wore-kind of where your belt buckle would be, that’s where he kept embers alive. His hat which resembled a nightwatch cap was like something you’d buy in a hidden away village high in the Andes…

      …well worth a visit if you’re in his neck of the woods

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        And half a century ago Asian women working in factories carried weights on their heads lifted up by two burly men. Your point? And yes I know about those African women and observers have noted that they do it with a very graceful walk.

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Ehh. Name another species that uses baskets. We are very good at throwing things. That’s actually one of the clear differences between us and chimps. Chimps can throw things, just poorly compared to us. But a tool to carry far more than your hands can hold was an innovation.

      Reply
  29. Mo's Bike Shop

    The 2018 MacBook Pro Keyboard Drives Me Crazy

    I bought a mechanical gamers keyboard because it looked like a typewriter. A week later I bought one for work. Indulge yourself where it counts.

    Reply
  30. Wukchumni

    We had a bear get into our trash cans in the neighborhood last week, and I walk over to the Satsuma* plum tree, and one of the three 9 foot metal posts is bent over almost to the ground and the chicken wire around all posts is kinda on the ground and about 75 plums are missing, but the bruin had a heart and left me 75, after all California is a shared property state, eh?

    * a late summer plum that never looks as if it’s ripe, the color is splotchy gray-green, the inside vivid purple. The birds haven’t figured out how to know when to pick em’.

    Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “We should all be reading more Ursula Le Guin”
    Indeed. About the article described: her father was a famous pioneering anthropologist, A. L. Kroeber. The article reflects that background, as does much of her fiction, exploring what might happen if people were just a little different.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Afterthought: it’s silly to say that the first tool was a spear, because we have very early stone tools. They were scrapers and handaxes, meant to hold in the hand. People presumably also used wooden tools, which don’t get preserved any more than vessels pre-pottery. They might have used fire-hardened sticks as spears, but much more for digging.

      Reply
  32. Oregoncharles

    I can’t be the first to pick this nit, but: “toxic algae bacterium”?? make up your mind – which is it? Maybe they left out “and,” which would cover all the bases.

    Actually, a lot of them are “blue-green algae,” cyanobacteria, which are a third phylum. Those can be very toxic, or very nutritious – the first entry when I searched was for Klamath cyanobacteria, sold as a superfood. Some of them are also nitrogen fixers. Theyire considered the origin of chloroplasts, the intracellular organs that carry out photosynthesis.

    Important, then.

    Reply
  33. Carey

    Well this is fun: ‘Mainstream media cries foul over conservatives turning their smear-tactic culture war against them’:

    “..It’s no surprise that the New York Times and its mainstream media peers are not enjoying being on the receiving end of the public-history smear their peers pioneered so long ago. Perhaps they even regret giving their own “side’s” black-PR artists space to ply their trade, allowing the tactics to fall into enemy hands. But it’s too late to do anything about it now – mainstream journalists have spent the last three years disingenuously attacking Trump and his allies, and rarely for their genuine transgressions (wasn’t he supposed to end some wars, or something?). They’ve made their bed, and now they must lie in it. When you start a culture war, don’t expect to come out unscathed..”

    https://www.rt.com/usa/467488-nyt-media-smear-tactics/

    Dog, I dislike the faux-left (though that, too, may be part of the plan).

    “Conspiracy theoriss!!!”

    Reply
  34. Tomonthebeach

    Class Warfare Interesting tangent from Attribution Theory in psychology. Old as the hills — Heads-I-Win (I am so clever) or Tails-I-Lose (just my bad luck). What is interesting is the application to understanding MAGAs. Rallies suggest that attendees draw energy from being told that they are winners in contrast to Democrats who are sniveling, commie, snowflake losers.

    If recent analyses are correct that most Trumpies are well-off but not well-educated, it is possible that they feel their “success” in life is due to hard work (personal character) whereas them libtard collich-kids inherited their success from daddy – luck (like Trump did ironically). That is consistent with research by Bernie Weiner and the late Hal Kelly.

    As for the design, it is clever, but the study struck me as redundant given that there must be several hundred published studies of attribution theory – with all pretty much finding the same thing.

    Reply
  35. Trump n BoJo's lovechild

    Re: Warren (2):

    Not to get all nit-picky, but was defending Dow Corning against the implant suits a bad thing? To my knowledge, all of the retrospective analysis has failed to show a definitive link between silicone and disease…

    Reply
  36. dk

    The Neuroscience of Reality [Scientific American]

    A hunk of pseudo-science in the mix here. Promotes a self-centered view of reality that is simply and obviously false, even before considering how manipulative it is.

    Colors are a clever trick that evolution has hit on to help the brain keep track of surfaces under changing lighting conditions.

    This is a semantic argument at best; nature doesn’t speak English (except of course when we do). But many phenomena produce, are produced by and/or are contingent on very specific and narrow frequency ranges of light. For example, we build and use spectroscopes to analyze materials by examining the colors they emit while burning. By focusing narrowly and exclusively on subjective experiences, these articles try to drive the reader to question reality and their ability to perceive much less understand it; the antithesis of the endeavor of science.

    Here’s another one:
    https://aeon.co/essays/your-brain-does-not-process-information-and-it-is-not-a-computer
    Notice a similar strategy, the generalization of isolated instances to assert that all people are intrinsically incapable. Skill comes with practice, and an unskilled person is arguably crippled, but by their social context, one of whose primary purposes is to provide skills to its members so that they can contribute to and participate in the common good. These kinds of articles imply and even assert that skill is simply not possible. Disgusting.

    Reply

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