2:00PM Water Cooler 9/3/2019

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, because a Water Cooler with no comments seems like a little bit of a misnomer, I’m enabling comments for this post. Please be even more excellent to each other than usual, so as not to overwhelm our still vacationing moderators. And as Yves warned, moderation will be slow. –lambert P.S. There will be no Water Cooler tomorrow, because I’m really mentally still on vacation, and traveling too.


I mentioned this morning that the Brexit situation seemed overly dynamic:

Normally, I wouldn’t include Brexit here, but if Yves wishes to post on Brexit, your thoughtful comments may help her out.


“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. A reader said they preferred curves to stairsteps, so curves it is:

And here are the numbers as of 9/3/2019, 1:00 PM EDT:

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 2019-08-30: Now the polls aggregated (all available) are shown at the bottom of the poll; unlike RCP, there is no “secret sauce” for poll selection. We also give more detail about each poll than RCP, and allow candidates to be selected or deselected. That’s three reasons what dk is doing beats RCP, and if we can make the individual polls selectable/highlightable, that will be four reasons. With more to come, grid willing.

* * *


Biden (D)(1): “Biden’s Appeal Wanes As 2020 Race Enters Its Next Phase” [HuffPo]. “While that may be true, the enduring questions surrounding Biden’s age and fitness for office may mean Democrats will lack the “safe” choice they have had in the past, whether the candidate has been former Vice President Al Gore in 2000, former U.S. Senator John Kerry in 2004 or Clinton, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, in 2008 and 2016.”

Buttigieg (D)(1): Oops:

UPDATE De Blasio (D)(1): “De Blasio logged a 7-hour work month at City Hall” [New York Post]. • No doubt he’s investigating the rapid and trouble-free subway system in Des Moines.

Gillibrand (D)(1): “Why Gillibrand crashed and burned” [Politico]. “[T]he big-spending plan yielded a single 2 percent poll showing. Her once-mighty campaign account dwindled to about $800,000, according to an aide familiar with the total…. ‘Franken was definitely a problem in terms of fundraising,’ the person familiar with the Gillibrand campaign said. ‘He just kept coming up, over and over again.’ Jen Palmieri, Clinton’s former communications director, said there was ‘no question’ that the Franken ordeal had a ‘huge, outsized impact on her.'” • I don’t know why Palmieri is still in anybody’s Rolodex.

Harris (D)(1): “Why Kamala Harris Hasn’t Caught Fire in the Democratic 2020 Race” [Bloomberg]. “In some ways, Harris risks falling into the same trap that ensnared Rubio in 2016 — eloquent on the stump, adept at raising money, acceptable across the party spectrum but not loved by enough voters…. [Alex Conant, the communications director for Rubio’s presidential campaign] said the key for Harris is to pick an early state to win. Rubio split his efforts about equally in the first four states and landed several top-three finishes, but failed to win any of them.” • California?

O’Rourke (D)(1):

Good for him!

Sanders (D)(1): “Trump’s Coattails Tested in North Carolina: Campaign Update” [Bloomberg]. For some reason, the editors changed the headline. Here;s the URL: sanders-organizes-1-600-rallies-in-60-seconds-campaign-update. This snippet is more interesting: “The Bernie Sanders campaign says it used one conference call to set up 1,600 house parties, expanding his effort to bring in new voters for a candidacy that’s been stuck in second place in all national polls. The “Plan to Win” house party push was the largest the campaign has done. The rallies will be held Sept. 18-24 in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and California.” • And that’s good. But those volunteers are going to need to expand the Democrat Party base by bringing in non-voters and the unregistered (something that the Democrat establishment hates). Can they? Are they? If so, all the polling models are off.

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): “Krystal Ball: Washington Post ‘fact check” proves Bernie right” (video) [YouTube]. • See also here.

UPDATE Trump (R)(1): “Trump allies aim to raise $2 million to investigate reporters, editors: Axios” [Axios]. • As usual, David Brock (through Media Matters) employs more layers of indirection.

UPDATE Warren (D)(1):

Warren keeps saying “grassroots movement,” but I’m not seeing it, and I do try to keep track. Maybe Indivisible down the road, say, parachuting in?

Warren (D)(2):


Warren (D)(3): “Monopolist’s Worst Nightmare: The Elizabeth Warren Interview” [The American Prospect]. Warren: “Remember, it was the academics that got this started in the wrong direction, arguably.” • “This” being concentration a la Amazon. “Arguably”?

Williamson (D)(1):

* * *

UPDATE “2020 Presidential Election Interactive Map” [Taegan Goddard]. • Horse race analyst who leans Democrat:

UPDATE “The Cybersecurity 202: DNC move against phone-in caucuses pits cybersecurity vs. voter participation” [WaPo]. “The Democratic National Committee’s decision to recommend scrapping phone-in virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada is pitting security hawks, who say those systems are ripe for hacking, against Democratic activists who want to increase voter participation…. Iowa and Nevada developed their phone-in systems after the DNC urged caucus states in 2018 to either switch to primaries — which are speedier — or make it easier for people to participate remotely…. The DNC recommendation came in a Friday memo from Chairman Tom Perez and the co-chairmen of the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee, which found there was ‘no tele-caucus system available that meets our standard of security and liability.'” • Remember that all the Sanders supporters were purged from the DNC. It would be pretty funny if the DNC nuked the caucuses after the candidates had spent millions of dollars there. Although the consultants will make out pretty well.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A Critical Examination of Caucus Organizing within the DSA” [NYC Democratic Socialists]. “Caucuses may encourage the counterposition of ideas that needn’t be counterposed. When the raison d’etre of a group is its difference from others, there is a tendency to overstate those differences. When these groups (caucuses) competitively vie for power, there is a tendency to counterpose those differences. For instance, if one caucus centers in their platform rank-and-file labor organizing and another caucus centers working within social justice movements or organizing around identity-based issues, this could needlessly and harmfully counterpose strategies that should be thought of as mutually beneficial, not mutually exclusive.”

“Probe of missing Georgia votes finds “extreme” irregularities in black districts” [Salon]. “The Georgia election as a whole was marred by Republican voter suppression efforts and aging, vulnerable voting machines. The Coalition for Good Governance, an election security group that sued to contest the lieutenant governor race, issued a report alleging that the extreme drop-off in black districts suggests the undervote could not be explained by voters simply skipping that race on their ballots.”

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers’ Manufacturing Index, August 2019: “A ten-year low in export orders and a seven-year low for optimism headline an August PMI manufacturing report that is filled with multi-year lows” [Econoday]. “This report underscores the Federal Reserve’s concerns that slowing global demand is hurting the domestic manufacturing sector. Should the upcoming ISM manufacturing report, released at 10:00 a.m. ET this morning, also stumble, the odds for a rate-cut at the September FOMC will have increased.”

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, August 2019: “ISM manufacturing is among the most closely followed reports on the economic calendar and August’s unexpected drop… may very well make a rate-cut at the September 17 and 18 FOMC a certainty. And given the broad weakness throughout the report, an upsized 50 basis point cut may well be in play” [Econoday]. “This report is suddenly looking like many of the global manufacturing PMIs with the mid-40 readings for many of the details evoking the recent troubles for Germany’s PMI data. With new cross-border tariffs between the US and China having taken effect over the weekend, the outlook for this report next month is not promising. These numbers mark a somber inflection lower for the US manufacturing outlook.”

Construction Spending, July 2019: “Construction spending “edged higher” [Econoday]. “Yet general weakness is still the theme for construction with total year-on-year contraction… This year’s weakness in the construction sector and specifically in housing has been perhaps unexpected given low mortgage rates that keep moving lower. Though the Federal Reserve hasn’t elevated construction to a major concern, today’s report, despite isolated improvement, likely adds another weight for a rate cut, and perhaps a large rate cut, at this month’s FOMC.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla drivers reportedly locked out of cars after app goes down” [Irish Times]. “Technology is wonderful until it fails you. Just ask Tesla drivers who were reportedly locked out of their vehicles for several hours yesterday after the app, which many use as a key, was taken down for maintenance…. The outage began at about 4.30pm US eastern time and lasted for about four hours, according to one report. Tesla has yet to comment.”

The Bezzle: “Tesla Batteries Are Keeping Zimbabwe’s Economy Running” [Bloomberg]. “The installation of 520 Powerwall batteries, with two going into each base station, is the largest telecommunications project in which Tesla has participated to date, Moyo said. With Econet having about 1,300 base stations in the country and two other mobile-phone companies operating there, Distributed Power intends to install more batteries and could eventually roll the project out to other power-starved countries in Africa, such as Zambia, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said. Base stations in Zimbabwe often use diesel-fired generators as backup, but fuel is also scarce in the country. The Powerwalls, which cost $6,500 each, will step in when solar panels aren’t generating enough electricity because it’s night or when heavily overcast. The lithium-ion batteries can power a station for as long as 10 hours, according to Econet. They are charged by the sun. Tesla is working with a number of telecommunications companies around the world and sees a combination of solar panels and battery storage as a good opportunity to expand its business in countries and areas where electricity supply is erratic or non-existent.” • Maybe this unglamorous business is a good one, and I shouldn’t fie this under “The Bezzle.”

Tech: “Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox” [EFF]. “Perhaps the most fleshed-out proposal in the Sandbox is the conversion measurement API… The problem is the impression data. Apple’s proposal allows marketers to store just 6 bits of information in a “campaign ID,” that is, a number between 1 and 64. This is enough to differentiate between ads for different products, or between campaigns using different media. On the other hand, Google’s ID field can contain 64 bits of information — a number between 1 and 18 quintillion. This will allow advertisers to attach a unique ID to each and every ad impression they serve, and, potentially, to connect ad conversions with individual users. If a user interacts with multiple ads from the same advertiser around the web, these IDs can help the advertiser build a profile of the user’s browsing habits.” • Leave it to Google to take cookies and make them worse.

The Fed: “When economists ruled the world” [The Economist]. “Few economists worked at the Federal Reserve in the early 1950s. Those who were on the staff of America’s central bank were relegated to the basement, at a safe remove from the corridors where real decisions were made. Economists had their uses, allowed William McChesney Martin, then the Fed’s chairman. But they also had ‘a far greater sense of confidence in their analyses than I have found to be warranted’. They were best kept down with the surplus furniture and the rats.” • Indeed!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 24 Fear (previous close: 23, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 16 (Extreme Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 3 at 12:12pm. Note that the index is not always updated daily, sadly.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged. [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. Remember that bringing on the rapture is a good thing.

Health Care


“How ‘Medicare for All’ Went Mainstream” [Robert Draper, New York Times]. • I’m pleased to see RoseAnn DeMoro of the NNU playing a prominent role, but any reporter who writes a story on this topic without a single mention of PNHP simply hasn’t done their research. In the prestigious New York Times Magazine, too.

“Hospital revisits within 30 days after discharge for medical conditions targeted by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in the United States: national retrospective analysis” [British Medical Journal]. The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program penalized hospitals financially for excess re-admissions. But: “In the United States, total hospital revisits within 30 days of discharge for conditions targeted by the HRRP increased across the study period. This increase was due to a rise in post-discharge emergency department visits and observation stays, which exceeded the decline in readmissions. Although reductions in readmissions have been attributed to improvements in discharge planning and care transitions, our findings suggest that these declines could instead be because hospitals and clinicians have intensified efforts to treat patients who return to a hospital within 30 days of discharge in emergency departments and as observation stays.” • Squeezing a balloon…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“How Slavery Hurt the U.S. Economy” [Bloomberg]. “One school of thought argues that [1] slavery in general, and cotton in particular, was the driving force behind the development of America’s distinctive brand of capitalism. (The New York Times’s ambitious 1619 Project contains a good encapsulation of this argument.) But not only has this theory come under fire for inaccuracies, its central narrative is incorrect. The reality is that cotton played a relatively small role in the long-term growth of the U.S. economy. [2] The economics of slavery were probably detrimental to the rise of U.S. manufacturing and almost certainly toxic to the economy of the South. In short: The U.S. succeeded in spite of slavery, not because of it.” • But these propositions ([1], [2]) do not contradict! Unless you have some ideal, teleological view of capital, that is.

“Dismantling the Myth of the ‘Black Confederate'” [Salon]. “As someone who has dealt with people who believe this narrative, I’m always struck by the fact that they seem to be completely unaware that the Confederacy openly debated this issue throughout most of 1864 and early 1865. It was a very public debate! There were literally hundreds of newspaper editorials, letters, and diaries from people in the army writing about this. The soldiers themselves were glued to this issue. Entire regiments issued statements on where they stood…. And what’s remarkable to me is that no one involved in this debate at the time, regardless of their position on the enlistment of slaves, ever pointed out, ‘Hey, black men are already fighting as soldiers on the battlefield.” So forget about whether or not anyone has ever heard of an enslaved man picking up a weapon on the battlefield or wearing a uniform and marching with the army. No Confederate saw any of this as reflecting service as a soldier.”

Colin Kaepernick:

Guillotine Watch

“Glamping has come to NYC. I took an 8-minute ferry ride to an island in New York Harbor where people pay up to $1,200 a night to sleep in luxe tents and cabins — here’s what it looks like.” [Business Insider]. “Travel company Collective Retreats opened a luxury campground on Governors Island in New York Harbor, an eight-minute ferry ride from Manhattan, in July 2018 — and they just added an even more luxe type of accommodation.” • Collective. Well, I suppose so!

Class Warfare

“Even a Brief Recession Would Be Dire for Minority and Low-Income Workers” [Medium]. “Typically, less-educated workers, low-income workers, and minorities are the hardest hit during recessions. It also takes those groups longer to feel the effects of an economic recovery. In fact, the recovery from the Great Recession has only recently begun to reach particularly marginalized demographic groups in a meaningful way. ‘You need longer booms, at low unemployment rates, to benefit marginalized workers,” says [Jay Shambaugh, the director of the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution]. “If we were to tilt toward a recession sooner, that would be more problematic for people at the bottom end of the income distribution.’ Young workers entering the labor force are also especially vulnerable to the effects of a recession.” • Ugh, sympathy from the Hamilton Institute?

The precariat:


Then again–

“Shortchanged: Why British Life Expectancy Has Stalled” [New York Times]. “For the first time in modern history, Britain’s gains in life expectancy have stalled — at 79.2 years for men and 82.9 years for women for the years 2015 to 2017. That is better than the United States, but Britain is slipping down the ranks in Western Europe.” • Everything’s going according to plan!

News of the Wired

“The Anthropologist of Artificial Intelligence” [Quanta]. “‘I was good friends with Iain Couzin, one of the world’s foremost animal behaviorists,’ Rahwan said, ‘and I thought, ‘Why isn’t he studying online bots? Why is it only computer scientists who are studying AI algorithms?’ ‘All of a sudden,’ he continued, “it clicked: We’re studying behavior in a new ecosystem.'” • When Silicon Valley says “ecosystem,” they mean market. Shocking to see an academic adopt this degraded construc. I’m sure Couzin will do very well.

“A Street In Brooklyn Was Covered In Raw Chicken” [Buzzfeed]. “”A DSNY mechanical broom addressed the condition at 10:00 a.m. A flusher (truck with water) is on the way to address any remaining street residue,” the [Department of Sanitation] spokesperson said.” • Lovely, stilted bureaucratic language.

“Waiting for the Monsoon, Discovering a Brain Tumor Instead” [New York Times]. “As for the ebbing of the space-occupying intruder in my head, that remained to be seen. From 3 to 6 percent of glioblastoma patients are cured; one of them will bear my name. I’ve already ordered a T-shirt with a giant 6 and a percent sign on it.” • This is a wonderful piece, a must-read. And the photographs of Inia are gorgeous. And then–

“Ram Dass is ready to die” (interview) [New York Times] (DL). “”Be here now” is: In each moment, go into the moment. Our minds take us back and forth in time. I teach a moment. And I teach that we identify with the ego. The ego is a mind warp, and most people don’t identify with their soul. They’re worried about excess meaning. The soul witnesses the ego and witnesses thoughts. ‘Be here now’ gives people an opportunity to reidentify outside of their thinking-mind ego and into that thing that’s called the soul. It is the perspective from which we could live a life without being caught so much in fear. To reidentify there is to change your whole life.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Carey

    Lambert, thank you for enabling comments today! A few additional links:

    CJ Hopkins’s latest: https://consentfactory.org/2019/09/03/the-future-of-the-spectacle-or-how-the-west-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-reality-police/

    And this looks interesting: https://survivingcapitalism.blogspot.com/

    I liked Norman Solomon’s framing in this piece on Biden and the Money (maybe already linked?):

    Finally, this is from February on Yasha Levine’s ‘Surveillance Valley’, but I hadn’t seen it:

    1. JCC

      Jimmy Dore just came out with a video talking with Lee Camp discussing exactly what Yasha Levine was pointing out in Carey’s link above relative to Congress holding potential new privacy laws over the heads of Google, Facebook, Twitter and others in order to keep them on board with the surveillance/political state’s requirements on who is allowed to be seen and/or heard.

      Apparently Facebook allows targeted ads to followers of specific people (news to me – I deal with FB as little as humanly possible – although it makes obvious sense) and they recently informed an advertiser that they will no longer be accepting targeted ads to followers of Jimmy Dore or Lee Camp.


      Inch by inch, and more and more blatantly, the State is tightening up the rules of who is allowed to be seen on Public Internet Platforms.

  2. Jason Boxman

    You have my thanks for laboring to produce this post without fail week after week! I hope you and everyone else had a good holiday weekend.

      1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

        After last night’s events on Brexit, will Yves ever be able to take a holiday again?

  3. Expat2uruguay

    I hope it’s okay to comment on the Uber and Lyft story from this morning’s links. I was amazed by this quote from the article.

    Uber’s stock price has fallen steadily since the IPO amid concerns over the company’s lack of profitability; Uber lost a staggering $5.2 billion in the second quarter of 2019, most of which attributable to one-time stock payouts.

    Does this look like a pump and dump scheme to anyone else?

    1. Oregoncharles

      And thanks for posting on the topic – or at all. Enjoy your break!

      Personally, I have a dryer full of raisins to unload; not so easy, as they stick to the screens.

  4. Synoia

    I like the new squiggly lines on your poll charts. Thanks. I’m positive “squiggly lines” are not the proper “mathematical” name for these.

    Would a 3 point moving average smooth them more, or would it cloud the results?

    1. BillC

      As it happens, I’ve spent much of the last week thinking about altering software I use to monitor the starter and battery of a backup generator. It’s worked fine for a couple years, producing an 8- to 2-item moving average of observations at 32 millisecond intervals depending on the slope of voltage changes … but I feared that might be hiding information, so I wanted to see what it looks like unaveraged at 1-millisecond intervals. Beware of getting what you ask for!

      Lots of squiggles, not all evidently random, and with them come questions that hadn’t occurred to me before. The smooth line of a moving average suggests gradual change and makes it easy to believe we know and understand reality. But I like the squiggles: often random noise, but some can reveal influences that might someday be important to understand.

      For 2020, give me squiggles, if only to remind me that we don’t know as much as a smooth line might misleadingly suggest!

      (And happy vacation wishes to our hard-working bloggers and moderators!)

  5. kareninca

    I hope that the people who post here who loathe religion, will read the article that Lambert put up earlier today on starving elderly people in this country. Whether or not you think that churches should be the last resort, the reality is that they are, and they often do a great deal. I have a very annoying religious relative in Michigan who does volunteer on a church food truck. The people who get the food really, really need it. If her church weren’t doing this things would be even worse. There is no sign that the government is going to close the giant gaps here anytime soon.

    1. Oregoncharles

      There are people who take the rhetoric of their church seriously and do wonderful things. Unfortunately, there are others that take other parts just as seriously and do terrible things.

      And then there are many who just take advantage.

      It’s like a lot of social institutions. I, for one, have a problem with some of the basic assumptions; but I think we need to overlook that and appreciate the real service some religious people offer, or form alliances where they’re available.

      1. polecat

        It’s too sad that the CLOUD GoDs of Progress… in addition to the Lairds of D.C. … aren’t as caring, let alone deserving, of such kindnesses and help that others volunteer to do …

  6. spro

    There was a link recently on Links or Water Cooler (I don’t recall) regarding the plateau-ing of machine-labor replacement in automotive factories. Does anybody still have that link? Many thanks in advance.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Thanks, but IIRC I posted a tweet with a chart showing automation (I believe in the automobile industry) leveling off at between 10 and 15 percent, according to a report by a group of automotive industry executives who toured Asia to look at the physical plant. But I can’t lay my hand on it just now. Readers?

  7. Jason Boxman

    Also, on “access”, the NY Times has an article today detailing hospitals suing patients, garnishing wages, and placing liens on property… for people with “access” by way of health insurance.

    What we really need in this country is clearly _more_ access, yes?

    What we should be doing is nationalizing all providers. Period. Then we can vastly reduce the number of useless healthcare executives that feed upon American citizens.

    1. Synoia

      Need a couple of well funded lawsuits, with discovery, to illustrate the lack of disclosures amd mythical charges in Hospital billing.

      1. Procopius

        I keep remembering that back in 1965 I was a junior accountant at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, one of the Big Eight auditing firms. A couple of days I was assigned to the team auditing a “non-profit” hospital in the Greater Los Angeles area. For some reason the CEO paused to chat with me for a few minutes. He commented that the hospital actually had no idea of how much different services and treatments cost. It seems that hasn’t changed.

    2. John

      There is shortage of doctors and nurses(?) but a surfeit of administrators and executives and managers, as it was said in The Godfather, “dipping their beaks.”

      1. JBird4049

        Rather like in education. Oodles of administrators and VPs, but a dwindling number of non-adjuncts or even clerks to teach or do the actual work of running the system.

    3. pretzelattack

      for some starving seniors, access to food would be nice. hey, maybe there’s a market for food insurance, cause adding a layer of predators helps efficiency.

  8. Synoia

    Brexit Boris:

    Choose one of : 1 Leave, 2 Ease Out, 3 Stay.

    We choose 0 !…..

    Choose again:

    We choose 0 !…..

  9. dearieme

    Tesla drivers reportedly locked out of cars after app goes down

    Is “tee hee” a permitted comment?

    Mind you, where we live a lot of the taxis are electric – Korean perhaps; certainly not Teslas. Anyhow, they are roomier than the bloody awful Mercedes that sometimes turn up. No ruddy headroom: why would a German firm build cars for squirts? It’s a mystery.

    1. Jen

      My current car has 236K miles on it and as I contemplate an eventual replacement, mainly because of rust, one absolute requirement is that the ignition requires a family blogging key.

        1. Yves Smith

          Sorry, I love keys. And an expert driver claimed keys are better than buttons because (for conventional cars) they cut the engine faster, which for an expert driver can make a difference in emergency braking. So there is an apparent safety benefit even though few are well trained enough to make use of it.

          1. Jen

            And if you don’t power down your pushbutton car, er…computer, correctly, it keeps running. Friend of my dad’s always leaves her car radio on so that she knows the car is truly “off” before she gets out of it.

            1. katiebird

              Thanks for sharing this idea! I don’t have a keyless car but who knows I may be forced into it someday. And I have worried about hearing that people don’t get them shut off and are sometimes asphyxiated much later.

  10. Utah

    Re: Warren grassroots
    I donated to the Warren campaign and get text message notifications. A couple weeks ago I got a message asking for volunteers for my local street fair (it must have been done by precinct because nobody else I know got the message.) That’s not something I’ve seen from the Sanders campaign. Additionally, Warren bought a table at my county and state Dem organizing conventions. Also not something that Sanders did, despite his team being asked. So, it depends on what grassroots looks like to some people, but I think that Warren’s Western regional director is doing their work. People in my neighborhood will be really happy that Warren has a table there. Sanders won Utah with 79% of the vote. If his team showed up, they’d wipe the floor here again.

    1. Kate

      My comment accidentally posted unfinished and uncorrected. I’m sorry, very new to this. I thought you had a mechanism whereby one could review and alter their comment for 5 minutes but I can’t seem to access it so please just delete my embarrassing, truncated remarks. Thank you.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I thought you had a mechanism whereby one could review and alter their comment for 5 minutes but I can’t seem to access it so please just delete my embarrassing, truncated remarks.

        We do, and somebody seems to have done so. Not sure why it’s not showing up.

        UPDATE Mine did: “4 minutes and 49 seconds.”

        1. John Zelnicker

          Lambert – I have found that the edit function only shows up some of the time for me. I have been trying to determine if there is a pattern and the only thing I have come up with so far is that the longer comments and some with links get the edit function and short ones may not.

          The lack of editing on some posts is a phenomenon that has shown up for me only in the past few of months. Prior to that, I always got it.

          This one was editable.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Gremlins, like I said.

            I think I always get an edit function, these days, but it often doesn’t land back where it’s supposed to. So I just scroll.

            1. JBird4049

              I get the edit function usually when using Firefox in private mode on the Mac. Sometimes though it goes poof as if the Internet gremlins are pranking.

  11. Arizona Slim

    Just a minor quibble, but I think the quote snippet from the Sanders Plan to Win house party story is conflating those parties with rallies to be held in early primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and California.

    Yours Truly is in the process of setting up a Plan to Win house party here in Tucson. It hasn’t been approved by the Sanders campaign, but I expect that it will be in the next few days.

  12. Carolinian

    I encountered my first glamper the other day at our state park. He had the Mercedes high roof stretch van and a shower attached to the open back doors. Of course one might ask how a “glamper” differs from an RV. but that Mercedes logo on the front could be a tipoff. Is it all a manner of image (and built in big screen TV)?

    Supposedly people are living in these luxury vans and trailers out in San Francisco because the rents are so high.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Ha! Yes, I am living my van in a tourist area in the Pacific Northwest and you should see some of the rigs. This #Vanlife thing is the new conspicuous consumption masquerading as “simplicity”. Same thing with camping. everything is luxury and now I can’t afford anything, even camping. I think this is seriously a way for people to feel like they are being frugal and maybe massage their guilt about having so much money.

      (Also, for those following my homeless life, moving to Washington was probably my best move. Looks like I will have housing this week and a lot of financial help from a local homeless organization. People may ask why there are so many homeless on the west coast, I now tell them it is because we are treated like humans.)

      1. Janie

        It sounds as if things are looking up for you. I hope things continue to go well, that you enjoy life in the Pacific Northwest and that you continue to post your well-said comments.

    2. Wukchumni

      There’s a walk-in High Sierra glamping camp hereabouts, and the rate is $250 a day per person and its pretty cush, not that i’ve been, nor would want to. But not everybody can schlep a backpack, so I get that.


      We saw a stock trip coming towards Iva Bell hot springs when we were walking out last month, and the gig was mules carried everything and the horse riding packers put up the tents, made the meals, did everything more or less, aside from all of the customers walking, not on horses as would’ve been in the 30’s-50’s. They were going to be out for 10 days and it was spendy, around $1500 per person, about the same as it would’ve be for an ocean cruise. I could see us doing a trip like this when we’re unable to shoulder a backpack, and still want the grandeur that comes with the territory in the Sierra Nevada.

      When backpacking, my daily food & fuel costs are closer to $20.

      1. Carolinian

        Ansel Adams and his Sierra Club pals used mules for their hikes. Their diet of canned beans and entertainment consisting of amateur theatricals rather than smartphones probably wouldn’t qualify them as glampers.

        I understand the PCT allows 4 legged travel throughout? You’d never see pack animals back east.

    3. Lynne

      That van with a Mercedes logo? It’s a Dodge. The only part of them that’s Mercedes is the Diesel engine, and a Mercedes diesel is not the best diesel.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > MoA has a beef

      Thanks for the suggestion that “you and him fight.” I don’t see any point in getting into a blog war with bernard; maybe I’ll get round to reading the post some day. In the mean time, I don’t see a reason to give him the traffic.

      #4 of “typical violations” of site policies:

      4) Insulting your hosts and fellow commentors: These discussions take place in Naked Capitalism’s space. So don’t throw your drink in your host’s face, whether Yves, Lambert, or any poster.

      Bernard must surely have been aware of site policies; he’s not a dumb guy; he’s not a wu mao tankie. So when he labeled NC content and, worse, a contributor’s content, “bullshit,” he was “throwing his drink in [his] host’s face.” Consequences followed, surely predictable ones. I assume that bernard is fully in control of his register, and so chose the form of his response. Why he did so instead of simply making his point is opaque to me, I’m not socially adept enough to figure it out. So I don’t see a reason to enter into further interaction.

  13. Rojo

    Anyone else question the motives of the 1619 Project? Like the problem isn’t capitalism, it’s America’s “bad, racist” capitalism?

  14. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Harris and California as an early state.

    She still hired a mess of Clintonistas. They aren’t exactly the most politically aware people. I think its probably more apt to say she isn’t an embarrassment on the stump (Biden or Beto) or comes off as doing a trick to impress her 10th grade English teacher (Buttigieg), but what demand is she filling? She looks like a candidate out of central casting and would be perfect for a background character in a terrible romantic comedy about two politicos from different sides of the aisle.

    Harris is the United States Senator from California and has been an ardent champion of . Profit! (South Park reference). The only other legislator with that kind of weight and access to media is New York. In the absence of a show (Mayor Pete), she isn’t offering anything.

    I would put Gillenbrand in the same category as Harris.

    1. Summer

      Next: primary her in that Senate seat.
      Could be winnable by an upstart by the time this highly exposing Presidential race is over.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Well I’m sure that that staff of Clintonistas will do just as good a job for Harris as they did for Hillary 2016.

  15. prodigalson

    Per the TAC article this morning on how Markets! can fix health care. I mentioned last week how steep the quality drop off over there has been lately. I wonder if leadership is veering it out of paleocon and more into boilerplate republican territory. I find myself clicking on less and less articles.

    At this point if your braindead enoug to still be selling “markets & entrepeneurs!” as solutions after the last 40 year experiment in radical greed and Randian cannibalism turned our society into a banana republic then you’re kind of beyond hope. As Ron White said, “you can’t fix stupid.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Conservatism can never fail, only be failed. Any failure of the “so-called markets” according to libertarians is because those were obviously not free markets.

      This has been the attitude of conservative “thinkers” since they first grunted that staying the trees would anger the fire gods.

      1. JBird4049

        The problem with many current “conservatives” is that their thinking is more the worshipping of free market capitalism than any real form of conservatism. The worship of money really.

    2. inode_buddha

      As it happens, I am recovering from my 2nd surgery this year. Skimming the links, the American Conservatve article gave me the best laugh I’ve had in a LONG time. The post-op notes didn’t say I couldn’t laugh.

      I mean, how do they think we got here in the first place?

      1. Laughingsong

        And their readership agrees, all the comments that I saw at the time I read it (only about 6) took the author to task.

        1. polecat

          They’re probably worried about their stock MARKET porfolio crashing .. when that glorious All-Time-High finally craters into a smoking pit that not even Satan would dare enter !

  16. John

    Thanks for the link on Ram Dass. That lead photo in the Times is great..a little astonishment at all the goings on here on space station Deep Samsara.
    I’m so thankful he touched my life.
    And Neem Karoli Baba, too.

    1. Procopius

      Back in the ’70s I was really searching for spirituality. I read most of Ram Dass’s books. Finally, with great hopes, I bought Be Here Now. After a few minutes I decided it was gibberish. As time passed, I developed the view that Richard Alpert was a nice enough guy, but he’s taken too many trips with Timothy Leary. I recently ran across a .pdf of Be Here Now and downloaded it. If anything, I find it even worse now than I did 40 years ago. If it gives you joy or comfort, I’m glad.

  17. Pelham

    Re the polls: Matt Taibbi recently wrote that if Biden lost ground Sanders would be the likely gainer, since Bernie is the second choice for most Biden supporters. But it appears Warren is benefiting as Biden slides.

    Too bad. Still, maybe it’s just the minority of Biden supporters who pick Warren as their 2nd choice who are bailing on Biden so far. Sanders may still gain if the more hard-core Bidenites begin to leave.

    As for Beto’s plan to snatch our AK’s and AR’s, good for him for being so forthright. It’s a terrible idea, but one can appreciate the flat-out honesty.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Warren has the Acela corridor’s backing and that has been expressed in some fawning coverage from the likes of the WaPo and NYT. Krugman has hinted that she’s his candidate as well.

      Unless something completely untoward happens, expect her to get great reviews in the next debate.

      I don’t see how a classic Massachusetts liberal like Warren (to me she’s very close to Teddy K in her policy views…) motivates enough abstaining voters to beat Trump. Not enough there, there.

      1. inode_buddha

        I don’t see how a classic Massachusetts Liberal represents anyone under $100K/yr let alone understand their lives.

  18. nippersmom

    ” the enduring questions surrounding Biden’s age and fitness for office may mean Democrats will lack the “safe” choice they have had in the past, whether the candidate has been former Vice President Al Gore in 2000, former U.S. Senator John Kerry in 2004 or Clinton, the former U.S. senator and secretary of state, in 2008 and 2016.”

    What do all those “safe” candidates have in common? Oh, that’s right- they all lost.

    1. Pat

      That and they didn’t upset the apple carts of the political consultants and the major donors.

      Funnily I think the author is missing several ‘safe’ candidates still in the running, all of whom might secure the nomination on the second ballot depending on who the superdelegate darling is. All of whom would probably be able to uphold that loss record of the safe candidate.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I didn’t click through to read if it was a joke, but I suspect “safe” for Team Blue types means “a candidate who most assuredly won’t be criticized by the Republicans.”

        Al Gore would blunt whining about the deficit.

        John Kerry was for a “stronger America.”

        Hillary was so qualified and had faced all arrows including machine gun fire in Serbia. Yep, those moderate Republicans are going to eliminate the need for Team Blue elites to ever have to worry about the poors again.

    2. Jeff W

      Right—and none of them had the press openly speculating about a lack of cognitive capacity, as is happening with the current “safe” candidate. That’s what passes for “safe” these days, I guess.

      Also: “Biden’s appeal wanes,” Gillibrand crashes and burns, Harris “hasn’t caught fire,” and Black Lives Matter of South Bend calls for Buttigieg to resign as mayor. (What language(s) will “Mayor Pete” give his resignation speech in, one wonders.) So the more overtly neoliberal candidates are stalling or bailing, with the more progressive candidates (actually or putatively)—Sanders and Warren—sailing along. Is that some kind of surprise?

  19. Arizona Slim

    This freelancer just got off the phone with an occasional client who owns an ad agency. I was working with said client on a project that went dark in late May.

    In mid-June, I had to go back east to tend to family issues, and they pretty well ate the rest of my summer.

    During all of that away time, I had a fully functioning cell phone and computer. So, I could have been contacted by said client.


    Long story short, the client’s client decided not to use what I submitted. Client told me to send her the bill, and, yes, I will get paid.

    I can’t help thinking that I’ll be treated like the guy in today’s “waiting to be paid as a freelancer” video.

    But you know what? Yesterday morning, I went to Tucson’s big union-organized Labor Day picnic. I was there to volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, but I wandered away from that table and eventually made my way to …

    … the National Writers Union.

    Would they have me as a disgruntled freelancer member? You bet they would!

    Matter of fact, they handed me a two-page essay on the union’s advocacy for the Freelancer’s Economic Bill of Rights. And a membership application.

    I have never been so happy to complete a membership application in my life. Ever.

    And, from that great classroom up in the sky, I can’t help but think that my recently deceased mom, a proud public school teacher, was smiling down at me. Because she was a union member too.

  20. skippy

    Anthro meets AI seems a wee bit like:

    “Ever since I took the Evelyn W-Woodhead sped reddin’ course, my… reddin’ has [Marin carefully sounds out the syllables somewhat incorrectly] im-PRO-v’d 100%, and also… com-PREN-shun has increased won-der-FULL-y. I ricommend the Evelyn Woodhed Sped Reddin’ Course to all my frens out there, and you tell ’em that you heard it here first… on Roller Derby”

    So a group of fringe metaphysical experimenters wish to play creator in the vacuum of “Frictionless Capitalism” [tm Gates] and then apply the AI [sans human foibles] findings too humans … of course when it goes upper bound fail rate it will be the humans drama … then they will pine for a new generation that will be more “compliant” so the matrix will achieve its desired results ….

    Then most will look back on the neoliberal “Economists” period with romanticism … making a cool billion in the process is … en fin …

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The whole idea seems like an unusually crude pitch for grant money. He’s not examining an ecosystem, which isn’t the object of inquiry for anthropology in any case, and bots aren’t organisms, like alone human beings. No doubt some Silicon Valley squillionaire will see the project as useful marketing collateral and stump up.

  21. ewmayer

    Tech: “Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox” [EFF]. “… The problem is the impression data. Apple’s proposal allows marketers to store just 6 bits of information in a “campaign ID,” that is, a number between 1 and 64.

    Quibble: 6 bits can store a number between 0 and 63; 64 needs a 7th bit in binary: 1000000. Such things can and do turn into much more than mere quibbles in software: The Wikipedia entry on integer overflow gives a classic example: “An unhandled arithmetic overflow in the engine steering software was the primary cause of the crash of the 1996 maiden flight of the Ariane 5 rocket.”

  22. Heraclitus

    I think the ‘How Slavery Hurt the US Economy’ author just doesn’t read the same books as I do. The industrial revolution WAS cotton. See ‘Empire of Cotton’ by Sven Beckert to see how this was true. Various European countries conspired to overthrow the United States for decades after the Revolution. See, ‘Orders from France.’ It’s likely that without the the income from cotton, we wouldn’t have survived as an independent country.

    As for the ‘myth’ of black Confederates: I didn’t believe there were black Confederates either, until I met some of their descendants at a genealogy meeting. There were only twenty or so people at the meeting, and there were two African Americans from different families whose ancestors had fought for the South. One, in fact, had received a Confederate pension. Typically they started out in the drum and bugle corps–which was, by the way, a very dangerous job, because the bugler was target #1. They didn’t stay there long, however, according to the speaker that night, who has written, or is in the process of completing, three books briefly detailing the lives of every Confederate soldier from South Carolina. He estimated that 3% to 5% of the Confederate Army was African American.

    Also, according to the speaker, the notes of the Union doctor (and Colonel) who photographed the Army of Northern Virginia from an upstairs window on the main street of Frederick, Maryland when they were on the way to Antietam, indicate that he saw at least two platoons of African Americans marching carrying rifles.

    1. marym

      Here’s a more extensive quote from the doctor who witnessed the Army of Northern Virginia, and Levin’s comments:

      In September 1862 Dr. Lewis Steiner reported the following about the make-up of Lee’s army as it moved through Maryland:

      “The most liberal calculations could not give them more than 61,000 men. Over 3,000 negroes must be included in this number. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were clad in all kinds of uniforms, not only in cast-off or captured United States uniforms, but in coats with Southern buttons, State buttons, etc. These were shabby, but not shabbier or seedier than those worn by white men in the rebel ranks. Most of the negroes had arms, rifles, muskets, sabres, bowie-knives, dirks, etc. They were supplied, in many instances, with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, etc., and were manifestly an integral portion of the Southern Confederacy Army. They were seen riding on horses and mules, driving wagons, riding on caissons, in ambulances, with the staff of Generals, and promiscuously mixed up with all the rebel horde.”

      Notice that Steiner never once referred to these men as soldiers. What he observed was an army operating on the backs of enslaved labor, from uniformed body servants or camp slaves to teamsters and other impressed workers. What is important to acknowledge is that these men were fully integrated into the army as enslaved labor.

      According to Kent Masterson Brown [author of Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign], Lee’s army may have included as many as 10,000 enslaved people when it arrived at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863.

      In the 1920’s four southern states provided for pensions for Confederate army enslaved workers. A pension is not necessarily indicative of having been a soldier (Link – PDF)

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that comment. I am sure that I too saw that same photograph of black Confederates marching into battle as well. For the author of that book to claim that photographic proof of black troops can be dismissed as proof because it countered the thesis of his book sounded to me like special pleading. Kinda like those climate change deniers saying that melting icecaps was not proof but is ‘natural’.
      From what you said in you comment, there must be documentary records such as pension records still in existence. This being the case, perhaps a better book would be to examine the motivation of those black Confederates as to why they fought. After all, Rome in dire straights raised at least one Legion made up of slaves to fight for their Republic (and who did great service). This was more of the same.

    3. VietnamVet

      This discussion avoids comparing society in the mid-19th century and today. It really isn’t that long ago. I’ve lived through almost half of it. Except for officers most of the soldiers I served with were conscripted or enlisted because of the draft. In a war your choices are limited. If they were in the march, driving wagons, armed to the teeth, they were soldiers; no matter how they got there. Today’s volunteer Army most of the soldiers and contractors are there because they couldn’t get a better job unless they are adrenaline junkies or psychopaths. The current neoliberal economy purposefully exploits people and the environment to make a profit. Today’s soldiers aren’t too different than the slave legions of ancient Rome. Perhaps, “warriors” isn’t that much of a misnomer.

      1. marym

        The issue with the myth of Black Confederates is its use to claim that enslaved people laboring in the Confederate army were willingly doing battle for the Confederacy. There’s no evidence either that they were willing or that they were armed fighters, rather than support workers. This myth gained currency, according to Levin, in the 1970’s a response to the civil rights era.

        Not surprisingly it’s being used again now to cloud the issues of slavery and its legacy as we confront the issues of racism in their current form.

        To add to the parallels you describe with other participants in other wars, the glorification of the mythical Black Confederates is something like the “support the troops – thank you for your service” culture in the US that clouds the issues of oppression and lack of choices for the troops and lack of moral justification for the wars.

    4. polecat

      I’m reading a fantastic book, in which the author states how the lowly Mosquito, being the great disease vector that it is, was crucial to how the African slave trade progressed from various West African tribe-on-tribe predations … to the selling of slaves to American colonizers (and Europeans), due primarily to two factors .. 1.) The Colonialists were not immune to Yellow Fever (and Malaria..), and thusly, could not gain slaves directly, themselves, by going into the interior without doing harm to themsevles in the process .. and 2.) It turned out that the African slaves transported to the plantations could work harder, due to the fact that They DID have that immunity ‘intitially’ .. which made them more desirable than say, northern European indentured .. or even any indiginous amerinds left to subject, because they suffered and died in much greater numbers. It was later on in time, when that immunity was lost, that the ‘idea’ of the ‘shiftless’ and ‘lazy’ negro came into existence – they were suffering from disease, and weren’t in any condition to do labor with any capacity !

  23. Summer

    RE: “Robert L. Allen, Black Awakening in Capitalist America (1969)”

    Makes me think of Dave Chappelle’s new Netflix special. It was really all about class fears. He never uttered the word class once and it was dripping from the routine.
    I actually saw where he diverges from a Richard Pryor or Red Foxx.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I second you on that one. He completely outs the hypocrisy of the privileged class’ “call out, outrage and cancel culture” to the point where he’s even incorporated it into his act. Just brilliant.

      People do get it, and he speaks truth – plus there are some extremely funny bits.

      Also read the article about Prince (RIP) in the latest New Yorker. He makes some very astute observations on race, class, white people in the music business… and how he wanted his biography to be the “opposite” of Ayn Rand’s the Fountainhead.

      1. Plenue

        Chappelle is making 60 million smackers for his Netflix specials. And he was already worth tens of millions. He *is* the privileged class at this point.

  24. mle in detroit

    Many, many thanks for the introduction to Wallerstein. I hope his site can be maintained for a few years, and a page added of links to the commentaries in chronological order — a fine use of 500 days.

  25. Oregoncharles

    Live updates: “Boris Johnson dealt blow as Brexit rebels vote to seize control “: https://edition.cnn.com/uk/live-news/boris-johnson-brexit-parliament-tuesday-dle-gbr-intl/index.html
    Current update: “Other oposition parties agree with Corbyn

    Other opposition parties appeared to back Corbyn on the idea of allowing an early election only after a no-deal Brexit was blocked.”

    Maybe he shouldn’t have prorogued Parliament; looks like he made them mad.

  26. John Hacker

    I was thinking of traveling to London for Christmas. Can we expect social unrest in England at holiday time?

  27. dcblogger

    I was asked by the Sanders campaign to host the Solidarity community canvass event at the Greenbelt Maryland labor day parade and festival. This consisted of passing out signs, stickers, T shirts, and literature at the event. I would say that we had a good turnout of volunteers (8) and the crowd was friendly. Warren has a group walking in the parade. The Maryland primary is April 28, 2020.

    I am bone tired, I have no idea how the candidates keep this up.

  28. dcblogger

    There is a Prepper magazine on sale at the Potomac Avenue SE Harris Teeter grocery store, For those unfamiliar with DC, this store is at the eastern end of what might loosely be termed the Capital Hill neighborhood. So, apparently there is a market for a prepper magazine here. That is NOT a good sign.

    1. WJ

      Can you elaborate? NOT a good sign for the 2020 election, or NOT a good sign because, yes, the apocalypse really is upon us?

    2. jrs

      saw the Sander’s folks at the last farmer’s market (which is a borgie crowd but seemed sympathetic), Sanders has more bumper stickers than Warren, Sander’s has more grassroots, this in the Los Angeles area, not seeing the grass roots for Warren really but she has some supporters.

      I mean I guess why not support Warren on paper: she takes from the best, takes Sander’s healthcare plan, Inslee’s climate plan. The real question is: what will she implement with or without congress or will she just fold when she actually gets power, and how will she prioritize on issues (because you can’t do it all).

  29. ewmayer

    My comment on “Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox” appears to be lost in moderation, so briefly, 6 bits means numbers from 0 to 63, not 1 to 64. IRL such ‘tiny’ one-bit-too-many errors can be quite consequential, as a websearch for “ariane 5 rocket integer overflow” will confirm. (Being a math/software geek whose specialty is exact and fast arithmetic using integers of up to some billions of bits, such “hey, what’s a bit between friends?” issues are near and dear to me.)

    1. Late Introvert

      Ya, we used to have raging debates on this topic of starting at 1 vs. starting at 0 (which is what video does, 00:00:00:00). Then I got into the software world and realized it was a huge issue there as well.

      And then I started reading the book The Information by James Glieck and realized that bits are the building blocks of everything. O vs. 1.

    2. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

      6 bits can also mean -32 to 31 (a ‘signed’ 6-bit integer). in all 3 cases there are 64 distinct possible values. it’s up to the surrounding software to establish the context for how the 6 bits will be interpreted. and yes, mixing up 1-based vs. 0-based vs. signed or unsigned are classic software “corner case” bugs.

  30. Mark K

    Regarding Taegan Goddard’s 2020 electoral map: A couple of days ago I got curious as to which are the states that Trump won in 2016, but where there is clearly potential for a Democrat (other than Hillary Clinton!) to defeat him in 2020. It occurred to me that I could use Obama’s 2008 vote total in a state as a proxy for how many votes a Democrat could get in that state. Not a perfect measure, I know, but readily available, and might provide some interesting results.

    So I identified the states that Trump won, but where Obama actually garnered more votes in that state 8 years prior than Trump did in 2016. There are actually 5 such states:

    Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin (no surprises here), Iowa, and… Ohio. The first four are among Goddard’s toss-ups, but oddly Ohio isn’t, even though his list also includes Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina, where Trump got more votes than Obama..

    Obama won Oho again in 2012, and Sherrod Brown won re-election last year. I would think that, without the vote-suppressing effect of having Clinton as the candidate, Ohio will be in play for the Democrats again in 2020.

    1. Carla

      “I would think that, without the vote-suppressing effect of having Clinton as the candidate, Ohio will be in play for the Democrats again in 2020.

      It depends on WHICH Democrat. Ohioans are hurting, and I think Bernie could take the state. We need change. Not a return to the Obama Quo.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Obama’s 2008 vote total in a state as a proxy for how many votes a Democrat could get in that state. Not a perfect measure…

      Inadequate as a measure of potential, I think. Here’s how bleak things are for the Democrat Party: Since LBJs landslide victory in 1964 (61% of the vote), the Democrat presidential candidate has won an outright majority of the popular vote only 3 times: Carter got 50.1% in 1976, Obama got 52.8% in 2008 and 51.1 four years later. Bill Clinton (and his wife) never broke 50% in their three elections. It gets worse. Even with his razor-thin majorities, Obama received 4 million fewer votes in 2012 than he did four years previously.

      These are pathetic numbers, and they explain why the Democrats cannot assemble a winning coalition in the Electoral College. Their margins are simply too slim for governing — from the left. That’s a feature, not a bug. If there were ever an indictment of neoliberal policy as political malpractice, this is it.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the DemParty nominates anyone who can plausibly be tarred with the Clinton brush, that person may deter voters in Ohio just as effectively as if the DemParty had nominated the Clinton itself yet again.

      And if the Clinton extorts for itself a king-making role in the convention brokering which will happen after Sanders has been cleverly political-engineered out of getting the nomination, that Clinton extortion and selection-pollution will be seen and commented on. And the Clinton-seal-of-Approval Catfood Nominee which emerges from the brokered convention will of course be tarred with the Clinton brush. And may well go on to lose Ohio in a wave of disgusted voter revulsion against the continued influence of the Dog Vomit Clintons over internal DemParty Leadership politics.

  31. WJ

    “The Democratic National Committee’s decision to recommend scrapping phone-in virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada is pitting security hawks, who say those systems are ripe for hacking, against Democratic activists who want to increase voter participation…”

    So we’re ok with Diebold electronic hackable voting in the general, but not with conference calls in the primary, because…..Russia bots voting for Sanders..blah blah blah….Russia…

    What a f*cking money-grubbing hypocritical clown Perez and the DNC are. The whole system needs to be destroyed.

    1. Late Introvert

      I live in Iowa and was very much looking forward to this option, as caucusing sucks in general, and in grade school gyms in February wearing full winter gear, quite a drag.

      But they just motivated my ass 10x to show up taking no prisoners. Good on you DNC.

  32. Plenue

    Moon of Alabama has noticed that you’re daring to disagree with the hive mind about Hong Kong. Apparently ‘not quite naked capitalism’ is hopelessly pro-American, pro-EU, and pro-Wall Street, and is overly thin-skinned and has fallen out with John Helmer over something petty and refuses to post his articles anymore.

    I love it when people who don’t actually know about a thing attempt to smear that thing. For some reason I’m having flashbacks to Louis Proyect dismissing The Wire while admitting he only ever watched 15 minutes of it.

    1. WJ

      That’s not the tenor of the entirety of the comments there.

      I think it’s a mistake to exaggerate the implications of what amounts to a good faith disagreement between two authors (both of whom have excellent track records) about a complex and controversial event. Just my two cents.

      1. Plenue

        My point was about the comments section, not b himself. I’ve observed the MoA comment section for a long time. That very much is the standard caliber of it. b’s posts are worth reading, but the commentators, not so much. Much like Pat Lang’s site.

        1. WJ

          Yes. I know that was your point. And you’re right that many–maybe most–of the comments are as you say. This fact however does not contradict my claim, if you read it carefully. There are some very good commentators there, and even in the thread you allude to there are several that defend NC in whole or in part. That’s all.

        2. pretzelattack

          i’ve wondered how many actual separate posters there are on moon threads before, and how many sock puppets. whoever the moderator at craig murray’s site performed an eye opening exercise of identifying several sock puppets on a couple of threads at that site, a service i wish more blogs could perform.

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          What is the percent of worth-reading comments and not-worth-reading comments at Pat Lang’s site?

          1. Liberal Mole

            Or Pat Lang, for that matter? I find myself wondering at his foreign policy pronouncements, which I generally consider worthwhile, when his domestic opinions seem antiquated and straight out of Fox News.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Well . . . his foreign policy pronouncements can be weighed and measured against observable reality to see how well they explain it. And when he has made predictions, they can be tested on whether they have “come true” or not. So an answer can indeed be had to that question.

              As to the quality of his commenters’ comments, if someone were to reproduce here a sample of “useless comment” and a sample of “useful comment” so we can see what the difference between the two types of comment is . . . that would be helpful. Then we could go on to decide what percent of the SST comments are useless and what percent are useful. One might go from there to decide if particular commenters are useful enough often enough to be worth seeking out by name in the SST threads.

              Because there is only time in life to read a few worthwhile blogs. SST is one and this is another and Ian Welsh is a third. And then some other blogs and sites are worth reading if time allows . . . and some are worth visiting every so often. And the other ten thousand super excellent blogs and sites which also exist will have to go unread because there is no time and energy to read them all.

    2. Darthbobber

      I’ve never replied on Helmet as a sole source for anything. When he’s good, he’s very very good, but when he’s bad he is… He also has a tendency to infer an entire three piece suit from a buttonhole.

      B over at MoA has a tendency toward paired binaries. (most of us default to that to some extent about some things, but he can be extreme.)

      To infer from (easy enough to find) evidence of American meddling in something that the thing in question is utterly a captive of and front for the interests of the US govt. is inadmissible as an automatic step without a lot of further evidence. By such means one can clearly prove that Adams, Hancock, Franklin and Co. we’re purely stooges and fronts for the Bourbon monarchy.

      (Tankie apologists, and I don’t include b there, were always adept at that. Radio Free Europe encouraged agitation in Hungary? Then of course the tanks should have rolled in Budapest. CIA support of the Dalai Lama 50 years ago? Then all all complaints about the project of turning Tibet into a Han dominated region are automatically invalidated. Almost a perfect mirror image of the West’s Cold War reasoning.)

      For what it’s worth, I think MoA is at its best when dealing with areas b tends to specialize in, which he understands well and evaluates sources well. Hong Kong and China generally I don’t get the feeling he has good detailed background on.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Part of “b’s” schtick is American Exceptional Evilism. AntiAmericanitic culture-racist antiAmericanite antiAmericanism is a key part of his psycho-mental outlook.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > a tendency toward paired binaries

        A tendency that is very, very difficult to fight. I wonder if there have been any studies done, say in investing, about the utility of rigid mental models when volatility is intense. My instinct is to say that binary thinking would be maladaptive, but maybe I’m just reproducing my priors, and the mental rigidity in fact enables investors to “power through.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Can’t we all just get along?

        It’s not clear to me how presenting a thesis with which some may disagree is not “getting along.”

        However, it is clear to me that violating moderation policies is not getting along, and that the NC comments section would not be what it is without them; that’s why we have a moderation team.

    3. Yves Smith

      We went to considerable lengths to state a point of view about the Hong Kong protests. We did not criticize or even link to MoA’s argument, so I have no idea why he thinks this is about him. Quite frankly, him taking this so personally and then getting nasty about it is bizarre. Had we wanted to disagree with his posts, we are more than capable of doing that; we regularly shred articles we disagree with in painful detail. We didn’t do anything even close to that. so his ire is misplaced.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s what’s so odd to me, too. I don’t understand the intensity. And as I said, I’m too socially inept to work it out. And I don’t like getting involved in social situations that I don’t understand.

    4. Basil Pesto

      I’ve long found Helmer to be overly blinkered and rhetorically untrustworthy (after going down a bit of a rabbit hole and seeing lots of unsubstantiated, anonymously sourced assertions) – didn’t realise there was beef with him and NC though?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Just because the billionaires unite to spend Ten Billion Dollars selling their choice of dogfood doesn’t mean that the dogs have to eat the dogfood. Even if the Buffet Squad can buy the DemParty nomination for Boo Tedge Edge, that doesn’t mean any of us have to vote for Boo Tedge Edge in the election.

      The DemParty can’t make the dogs eat the catfood if the dogs refuse to eat it.

  33. anon in so cal

    Re: “My First Real Jobs” (article posted the other day, by Lambert Strether):

    My first real teenage job was also in a public library, where I was hired part-time, after school, as a “page.” This required listening for the reference librarian’s clicker, going to their desk to obtain a call slip, then going downstairs to the “closed” stacks to retrieve the book. Another principal task was to alphabetize, then re-shelve, returned books.

    1. anon in so cal

      My chair would regularly deride Wallerstein. It almost sounded personal, but was probably just antipathy to W’s “world capitalist system” which he claimed to have undermined with abundant empirical evidence. Wallerstein would apparently wear overalls and Birkenstock’s, and his SUNY Binghampton student disciples dressed similarly.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > He believed in unfettered free will

      Really? I need receipts on that. I posted on Odum back in 2016 and concluded:

      Readers will already have spotted one weak point in the emergy approach. How are emjoules to be made commensurable across kinds of energy? That takes work. From the Proceedings of the Sixth Emergy Conference at the University of Florida:

      The application of the emergy method needs a large and reliable database of conversion factors so-called Emergy Intensities or Unit Emergy Values (UEVs), used to convert the input flows (energy, matter, money, labor and information) into flows of emergy driving a process.

      Lack of a suitable and constantly updated database undermines the evaluation process and weakens any calculated performance indicators.

      This doesn’t prevent emergy accounting from being used for individual systems like forests or landfills; but it would be nice if the conversion factors didn’t have to be developed piecemeal on a project basis. In a perfect world, the conversion factors would be as available and simple to use as any table that engineers use; or the building code.

      Of course, a political economy based on endless capital accumulation is unlikely to optimize for the creation of such a database; we prefer to pour our trillions into bright shiny bezzles like Uber, or self-driving cars.

      More centrally, I’m leery of universal units of measure. Odum’s approach — the necessity of a “reference level” — reminds me very much of Marx’s labor theory of value, which gave an account of what made commodities commensurable, hence exchangeable, and labor power turned out to be, in practice, unobservable. The fact that I’m leery of something, of course, doesn’t make that something wrong, so I welcome reader commentary on this point.

      So I’m happy to see the reference to Odum, but I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

  34. pretzelattack

    i just saw something that i can never unsee, a mystery called “hope never dies”–starring barack obama and his intrepid sidekick, joe biden, in some kind of derring do novel. maybe they foil putin’s dastardly plot to steal the election or something, i wasn’t going to touch it.

  35. cm

    I like to think I’m somewhat versed in history, but for the life of me I can’t come up with an equivalent to Brexit.

    So, my question: Is there is a historical precedent for Brexit???

      1. Watt4Bob

        If you consider the possibility that one hundred years from now, someone should write that Russian interference in the 2016 election led to Trumps election, then you might have some understanding of how I receive the opinion of De Barra, as concerns the parallels between the Irish people’s efforts to throw off the yoke of British oppression and the Brexit.

        Pathetic example of pro-British bias still obfuscating the topic a hundred years on.

        Both the current political climate in the US, and the situation surrounding Brexit are evidence of terrible miscalculations on the part of our respective mis-leadership classes resulting in unexpected catastrophes.

        The fact that the Irish war of independence was followed by a tragic civil war was not accidental, it was not a blunder on the part the Irish, it was a continuation of British oppression, by other means.

  36. Basil Pesto

    re: “How Slavery Hurt the U.S. Economy” [Bloomberg].

    Last night I saw a screening of the National Theatre (UK’s) production of The Lehman Trilogy, an adaptation of an Italian playwright’s radio play for the stage on the history of Lehman Brothers.

    The original Italian text went for 9 hours apparently; this English theatrical version ran for 3, and there were issues with pacing which I assume were a consequence of this. The third part of the trilogy lasted an hour, same as the other two, but in this adaptation covered the period from 1929 to 2008 at breakneck speed.

    The first part, however, dealt with the Lehman’s origins in Montgomery, Alabama and how they benefited from the cotton trade in the antebellum south. Certainly cotton is depicted as playing a large role in Lehman’s rise, if not US capitalism’s as a whole. But that role hit a natural limit, at which point Lehman’s had to diversify its industrial interests.

    I’m not au fait with Stefano Massini’s (the playwright) politics and weltanschauung, so can’t really deliver a more detailed critique of the play’s political economy. I suspect those of a more traditional/doctrinaire leftist background than myself would approach it with a ~hermeneutics of suspicion~. I myself found there was much to commend the production (including the acting and aspects of the text), and quite a bit that was lackluster. Still, interesting to see this article here on WC the day after I see the play that dovetails with it so – well, not fortuitously, but it is an interesting coincidence.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not sure I agree with the Bloomberg article. The mass of capital invested by the Slave Power in slaves was comparable to the investment by the North in railroads, factories, etc. (IIRC — too lazy to find the link).

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