2:00PM Water Cooler 6/4/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Readers, I seem to be all thumbs today, and my typing is slower than usual. So I’ll add more material in a bit. –lambert UPDATE 2:45PM All done.

Trade

“New steel and aluminum tariffs are starting to hit American supply chains but not necessarily in the way the White House intends. U.S. firms that use the metals in manufacturing say the levies have led to higher materials prices, pushing them to charge more for their products. That’s leading some customers to turn instead to foreign suppliers that use cheaper, tariff-free metals” []. “[T]he fallout, while so far limited, illustrates how efforts to protect U.S. steelmakers can cause unintended pain for others in the manufacturing world. One Illinois-based fabricator says some customers have moved production to Europe and Canada because of higher raw materials prices. The tariff battles look like they’re likely to grow: Key U.S. allies are pledging retaliation.”

“Trump’s tariffs are ‘frankly insulting,’ says Canadian PM Justin Trudeau” []. “‘The idea that the Canadian steel that’s in military, military vehicles in the United States, the Canadian aluminum that makes your, your fighter jets is somehow now a threat?’ Trudeau continued. ‘Our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II… and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to them.'” Injured lackey whinges as imperial master turns on him…

Politics

2020

“Joe Biden steams into midterm campaigns as 2020 question looms” []. No. Never, never, never, never, never. No.

“Trump delivers his promised ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ — and a looming cloud” []. The cloud: “At this point, the biggest cloud on the horizon is the specter of a trade war after Team Trump this week imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe, Canada and Mexico. Perhaps the president is convinced the economy is strong enough to hold up if this escalates into a series of tit-for-tats; maybe his advisers are sure America’s trade partners will fold rather than fight.”

UPDATE Yes:

Truck drivers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not like modern-day indentured servants. That is what we are here in California today to demand.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders)

UPDATE No:

"We need a government that represents working families, not billionaires. The agenda is one that says health care is a right, not a privilege." –

— Our Revolution (@OurRevolution)

I hate the squishy, focus-grouped “working families,” very much opposed to working class. “Working families” also erases people without families, and people with unorthodox families, which today’s gig economy very much encourages. Sanders and Our Revolution shouldn’t adopt language like this, and should minimize the time they spend hanging out with people who use it.

2018

“A Post-Memorial Day Status Report” []. “In a bygone political era, the symbolic end of summer — Labor Day — denoted the unofficial start of the campaign season. In our current era, one might be tempted to say that the symbolic start of summer — Memorial Day — now represents the campaign season kickoff, though American politics is in a state of perpetual campaigning…. But we’ve held at roughly 50-50 odds of a House flip for months. In a nutshell, Democrats have historical advantages: Since the Civil War, the president’s party has lost ground in 36 of 39 midterms, with an average loss of 33 seats. In the shorter timeframe of the post-World War II era, the president’s party has lost an average of 26 seats per midterm. The Democrats need to net 23 seats to win the House…. The Democratic lead in the House generic ballot polling average probably will need to be in the high single digits for Democrats to really feel good about their chances in the fall. The Democrats’ edge is currently short of that, but it has been in that range for much of the rest of the cycle.” (Keep in mind that the generic ballot is a proxy for electoral success. It’s purely a zeitgeist indicator. Nobody checks the generic ballot numbers before heading off to the voting booth.

“The Party *Doesn’t* Decide” [Amy Walter, ]. “Reformers come to the table with the best of intentions. And, there is a lot that needs to be updated and reformed in our political system. But, they often downplay — or fail to recognize — the unintended consequences of their actions. While I agree that there is a lot wrong with the current two party structure, I also think that party leaders appreciate the diversity of their party in many ways that are not relished today, namely that a candidate and member of Congress should be rewarded for sticking with the district’s interests over the interests of the party.” Twin assumptions, there: “District” is an adequate proxy for “voters,” and “voters” are an adequate proxy for “citizens” (and, of course, that “citizens” are an adequate proxy for “residents,” which raises other issues).

“If the Senate remains closely divided, perhaps it will be possible to convince a few Republicans to caucus with Democrats. If Republicans maintain their majorities, this outreach will be essential” [].

UPDATE CA-39, CA-48, CA-49: “Crowded Primaries Could Dash Dems’ California Dreams” []. A good review of the “top two” issues and the players. “Democrats at the national and state level insist they’ve done all they can to get Democrats through the jungle [top two] primary system. ‘DCCC is proud to have invested in and opened up new territory for California Democrats ahead of next week’s primary,’ said Meredith Kelly, the group’s communications director.” Again, I think all DCCC-backed candidates should be asked this question: “The Memorandum of Understanding that you signed to get DCCC funding obligates you to spend four hours a day on the phone asking donors for money. Do you intend to keep your commitment?” Better wording welcomed!

2016 Post Mortem

Readers, I read Amy Chozick’s Chasing Hillary while traveling yesterday. It’s certainly a fun read, and a good companion to Shattered. I’ll have a post on it in due course, but in the meantime, readers, have any of you read it? Your thoughts?

Obama Legacy

“Obama — Just Too Good for Us” [MoDo, ]. “‘Maybe we pushed too far,’ the president continued. ‘Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.’… So really, he’s not acknowledging any flaws but simply wondering if we were even more benighted than he thought. He’s saying that, sadly, we were not enlightened enough for the momentous changes wrought by the smartest people in the world — or even evolved enough for the first African-American president…. We just weren’t ready for his amazing awesomeness…” I remember reading that jaw-dropping quote from Obama — I’d say that guillotining banksters would have “pushed too far,” but definitely not prosecuting and jailing them — and I’m glad somebody else noticed it, too.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself” []. Naturally, there’s a Gilbert and Sullivan song for this:

“… And I, milords, embody the law.” If only we’d given the intelligence community veto power over the appointment of the President…

“The Shame in Puerto Rico” [Editorial Board, ]. “[W]hat Puerto Rico really needs to recover is the sort of generous, urgent and long-term assistance that would come with a recognition by the states that a great calamity has befallen their fellow Americans, that these people dying from a lack of the most basic services are their countrymen, their responsibility.” If only there were a demographics-driven party, looking for a message, that was focused like a laser beam on Latinx voters; Puerto Rico could have been part of their message! Too late now, of course… .

UPDATE More dirty money:

I used to be a Democratic Party bundler. It sickened me then. It horrifies me now-after nearly $1b lit on fire & 1200 seats lost-that we quadruple down on this outrageous fundraising strategy. All the DNC seems to know how to do is exploit leaders to raise money to..light on fire

— Nomiki Konst 🐴🦄🐴 (@NomikiKonst)

I think should apply to the donor class. Perhaps money in sufficient quantity should be regarded as noise, and not speech?

UPDATE “Bill Clinton bristles at questions on Lewinsky, #MeToo” []. “Clinton is promoting his new fictional thriller, ‘The President Is Missing,’ with best-selling author James Patterson.” Grifters gotta grift. And “Bill Clinton’s ‘Today’ Show Interview About Monica Lewinsky Raises Questions” []. From the interview (in lieu of the transcript I can’t find because Google sucks):

[Today host Craig Melvin] then asked if he ever apologized to Lewinksy.

“Yes,” [Bill] Clinton said, “and nobody believes I got out of that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt, but you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this, and I bet you don’t even know them….

When Melvin pressed Clinton about whether he had apologized to Lewinksy, he clarified that he had “apologized to everyone in the world,” but that he has not talked to Lewinksy. When Melvin asked if Clinton felt like he owed her a private apology, he said said he didn’t. “No, I do not,” the former president stammered. “I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”

I’ll just leave that there.

UPDATE “Pressure mounts on MSNBC, Joy Reid after old blog reveals attack on Wolf Blitzer, AIPAC” []. Reid can smear Sanders and Sanders supporters on a daily basis, no problemo, but attacking AIPAC?! ZOMG!!!!!!

Stats Watch

Factory Orders, April 2018: “Today’s factory orders report closes the book on what was a solid April for manufacturing in a month when the headline — an aircraft-distorted 0.8 percent decline — definitely does not tell the whole story” []. “The striking strength of April’s report is capital goods especially given weakness in machinery data which, however, is being offset by strength in electrical equipment and computers.” And: “US Census says manufacturing new orders declined. Our analysis shows the rolling averages improved” []. “According to the seasonally adjusted data, it was civilian aircraft which accounted for much of the decrease. The data in this series is noisy so I would rely on the unadjusted 3 month rolling averages which improved and remains in a long term improvement trend.”

Manufacturing: “U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace in May and order backlogs grew by the most in 14 years, even as price gains for materials continued to accelerate, the Institute for Supply Management said on June 1” [].

Shipping: “Today’s Pickup: truckload business booming, no warning signs yet” []. “Freight markets are so strong, that even with an influx of cash from the Trump tax cuts, it’s hard to find good acquisitions—potential targets have really high valuation expectations based on their wide margins in this climate. [Donald Broughton from the DAT Executive Symposium] reported that one anonymous executive said, ‘We continue to focus on technology and automating process. The right thing to do at this part of the economic cycle. Everyone is obsessed with figuring out when the cycle ends but none of the traditional red light warning signs, not even yellow warning signs, are out there.’ Several other executives said that they were focused on using technology to drive efficiencies internally and reduce transaction costs.”

Shipping: “Logistics Hiring Surged in May on Growing Freight Demand” []. “Logistics and freight transport companies went on a hiring spree in May, adding 18,700 jobs to keep pace with accelerating demand in the U.S. shipping markets. The surge last month gave the transportation and warehousing sector 73,000 new jobs since the beginning of 2018, the strongest annual hiring pace for logistics-focused payrolls since 2015…. The shift in consumer shopping patterns toward e-commerce requires heftier logistics infrastructure and more workers, said Evan Armstrong, president of logistics consulting firm Armstrong & Associates Inc. “As we need more e-commerce fulfillment centers to get goods closer to customers, as we need more capacity for last-mile delivery, that’s impacting all parts of the supply chain,” Mr. Armstrong said.”

Supply Chain: “A supply-chain battle is on tap in one of America’s entrenched distribution networks. Small brewers are squaring off against distributors and bar owners as craft beer’s once-explosive growth cools…. and small manufacturers look for new ways to reach consumers” []. “The craft brewers are trying to capitalize on a trend toward more direct sales, which grew 24.2% last year, even as general sales growth has tailed off. The brewers are bypassing a three-tier production, distribution and retail system that has held sway in the U.S. since prohibition, a closed-loop supply chain that craft brewers say favors producers of mass-market beer. Regulatory fights are underway in Texas and New Jersey, where craft brewers argue the big distributors are trying to preserve an edge based on the scale of their operations not the quality of their product.”

Manufacturing: “What’s Stopping the Smart Factory Revolution?” []. Elon wishes he knew. And there’s that word… Anyhow: ” Investment cycles in the manufacturing sector are extremely long. Robust processes and devices will not spring up overnight. Critically, the needed technologies—such as artificial intelligence, or AI—are not yet fully developed…. Should all of the AI wrinkles get ironed out—and eventually they will—smart factories still won’t proliferate absent the optimal information governance. Three such governance issues include technical standards, cybersecurity/privacy, and spectrum allocation.” So, short AI for now?

The Bezzle: “The Real Meaning of Tesla’s Over-the-Air Brake Fix” []. “The week before, Consumer Reports failed to recommend the Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model 3 because the vehicle’s braking distance did not meet the magazine’s standards. Then Tesla pushed out an over-the-air (OTA) software fix to all its Model 3s and the car’s braking distance was shortened by 19 feet, enough to meet the Consumer Reports standard and earn the magazine’s recommendation… And while there’s no argument that Tesla’s OTA capability is cheaper and more convenient, the braking problem and its fix raise some important questions. The most difficult one for the company to answer may be why Tesla sells a vehicle with a problem that can be so easily fixed. Did the company not even consider braking distance during its testing? Apparently not. What does that say about the company’s commitment to safety?…. A more important question may be whether Tesla owners (and more important for the company, potential Tesla owners) willing to exchange safety for convenience*. Perhaps ‘safety’ is the wrong word. ‘Integrity’ may be closer to the mark…. No one knows why the Model 3’s original braking distance was so long, except perhaps a few engineers at Tesla. If the company didn’t know about the issue when it sold the cars, why didn’t it? If it did, why did it not fix the issue before selling the car? Does it matter now that the company has fixed the issue? Yes, it should matter.” So, in essence, Elon snookered Consumer Reports, which should have been raising these questions (along with the rest of the trade press). Not good. NOTE * Rather, what about the people injured or killed by convenience-loving Tesla drivers? They had no part in the “exchange,” eh?

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Youtubers with millions of followers are dropping out, citing stress and burnout from algorithm kremlinology” []. “Youtube allows people — some of them not very nice — to earn incredible livings by performing stunts, playing videogames, creating sketches, anything that attracts an audience. But these superstars labor in a confusing and arbitrary workplace, governed by Youtube’s secret and ever-shifting algorithm, which can downrank them to obscurity and penury in an instant, or ‘demonetize’ their channels, or punish them in other ways that are neither predictable nor even identifiable (it’s often impossible to say whether a downtick in audience or earnings is ‘organic’ or some algorithmic punishment). These largely young people chase algorithmic approval with longer and longer hours, superstitious rituals and practices, and other desperate moves, all the while being jeered at and demonized by Youtube’s notoriously cruel comment sections. It’s not surprising, then, that so many of them have reached a breaking point, walking away from their channels, declaring themselves to be on the verge of mental exhaustion. It’s the next stage in the evolution of online media, the crises that first manifested with anxious bloggers being downranked by Google search, then podcasters suffering the invisible forces that shuffled the Itunes podcast rankings, and now Youtube.'” Maybe I should file this under Class Warfare….

Five Horsemen: “Apple, Microsoft and Amazon — three of the four largest market cap stocks on the planet, along with Alphabet — are at record highs in late morning trade” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen June 4 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Friday’s more than one percent rise in the S&P 500 index lifted the mania-panic index 8 points to 58 (complacency)” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania panic index June 1 2018

Rapture Index: Closes down one on famine. “There has been a decrease in the reporting of famines around the world” []. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181. Remember that the Rapture Index is what the left would call accelerationist: Worse is better; i.e, more famines would be an indicator that the Rapture is closer, hence good. The slow downward drift of the Rapture Index strikes me as a bizarre, mirror-world analog to “complacency” in the NakedCap Mania-Panic Index.

Health Care

“‘Medicaid-for-All’ Rapidly Gains Interest in the States” []. “Six states — Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and Washington state — have active legislation to establish a Medicaid buy-in program. In four others, bills were proposed but stalled. New Mexico has set up a task force to study a Medicaid buy-in program, and Connecticut may do the same.” Holy brand confusion, Batman! How on earth did “buy-in” become “for all”?

Gaia

“When facts are not enough” []. “I am a climate scientist who has spent a lot of time trying to make climate science more accessible. I’ve authored National Climate Assessments and numerous outreach reports; I host a YouTube show called Global Weirding; I tweet; I’ve even promoted knitting patterns that display rising temperatures. Yet the most important step I’ve taken to make my science communication more effective has nothing to do with the science. As uncomfortable as this is for a scientist in today’s world, the most effective thing I’ve done is to let people know that I am a Christian. Why? Because it’s essential to connect the impacts of a changing climate directly to what’s already meaningful in one’s life, and for many people, faith is central to who they are.”

UPDATE “Team discover how microbes survive clean rooms and contaminate spacecraft” []. “Despite extensive cleaning procedures, however, molecular genetic analyses show that the clean rooms harbor a diverse collection of microorganisms, or a spacecraft microbiome, that includes bacteria, archaea and fungi, explained Mogul. The Acinetobacter, a genus of bacteria, are among the dominant members of the spacecraft microbiome. To figure out how the spacecraft microbiome survives in the cleanroom facilities, the research team analyzed several Acinetobacter strains that were originally isolated from the Mars Odyssey and Phoenix spacecraft facilities. They found that under very nutrient-restricted conditions, most of the tested strains grew on and biodegraded the cleaning agents used during spacecraft assembly. The work showed that cultures grew on ethyl alcohol as a sole carbon source while displaying reasonable tolerances towards oxidative stress. This is important since oxidative stress is associated with desiccating and high radiation environments similar to Mars.” They grow in the cleaning solutions designed to kill them. That’s so meta.

Facebook

“Facebook kills its Trending Topics feature” []. Instead:

In place of the trending section, Facebook said in its blog post that it will be introducing several new experiments, including:

  • A “Breaking News” Label: The company says it’s currently running a test with 80 publishers across North and South America as well as Europe, India and Australia that lets publishers place a on their posts in News Feed, combined with breaking news notifications.
  • Today In: Facebook says it is experimenting with a new dedicated section on the site that is called , which the company says will “connect people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city,” as well as providing updates from local officials and groups.
  • News Video in Watch: As CJR reported after an interview with Facebook’s Head of News, Campbell Brown, the site a new dedicated section in Watch, its video feature, that will provide live video news coverage and analysis provided by a range of media partners.

It remains to be seen whether the new”Breaking News&amp” category will become as clogged with questionable content as the old Trending Topics section was. Presumably Facebook is devoting considerably more resources to the new feature, but that isn’t likely to stop certain news sites and publishers from complaining if their articles aren’t highlighted and those from other news sites are.

Deciding what content is newsworthy for a platform to play, but Facebook is in that role whether it wants to be or not. Now it has to figure out how to live up to those commitments without starting another PR firestorm.

No. Stop it. Just stop it. Kill the algos. “The cheapest, fastest, and most reliable components of a computer system are those that aren’t there.” Make my friends’ posts the news , in reverse chronological order. If it’s important, my friends will tell me about it.

Our Famously Free Press

“After new death toll report Friday, Sunday TV ignores Puerto Rico” []. “It probably doesn’t help that mentions of Puerto Rico have been absent from President Trump’s Twitter , the main driver of newscycles in 2018.” That’s very bad, and the press should be ashamed, but it would be bad with any President.

Class Warfare

“Robots Take More Jobs at McDonald’s” []. “McDonald’s Corp. is solidifying a move to a more tech-integrated platform, according to its chief executive officer. Essentially, the golden arches is making a big bet on mobile and other tech platforms, which means replacing humans at its restaurants. Overall, the company plans to upgrade 1,000 stores with this technology every quarter for the next eight to nine quarters. The burger chain has been systematically adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to its restaurants. Internationally, these kiosks and mobile ordering are already integrated, and the United States is just a little behind. But this will soon change.” I wonder what Chris Arnade would think of this; an obvious move is to eliminate sit-down dining altogether, which would destroy McDonalds’ function as a community center.

“Small Businesses Increasing Wages” []. “A seasonally adjusted net 35% of small business owners reported increases in labor compensation as owners try to attract needed employees and retain those already on board. Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated they are hiring or trying to hire, up one point in the past month and five points since the March report. ‘This month’s jobs report demonstrates that small business owners’ optimism is showing no signs of abating,’ said NFIB CEO Juanita Duggan. ‘They are increasing compensation at record levels and are continuing to hire.'”

“Bulls and Bears: Why central banks should stabilize the stock market” []. “The paper constructs a formal mathematical model to capture the idea that free trade in capital markets does not lead to optimal outcomes. We would all be better off if national governments were to regulate the capital markets through counter cyclical trades of debt for equity…. Most, if not all, stock markets movements are caused by contagious waves of self-fulfilling prophecies and we would all be better off if they were eliminated by treasury or central bank intervention.” I read the post twice, and Farmer seems to confuse “national governments” with “central banks.” I would agree with the proposition that — after the foreclosure debacle of 2007 onward, and today’s tech bubble (Juicero) — that capital allocation in today’s political economy is radically defective and should be put under democratic control, but that doesn’t seem to be the conclusion that Farmer is drawing. Readers?

“Class, Race and the Progressive Army” []. I have always been a “both/and” advocate, but identity politics (at least as practiced by liberals) has always been “either/or” and narrowly tailored to the imperatives of Democrat politics, and siloed (because donor driven) internal politics at that (the electoral equivalent of ). No such thing, apparently, as “black working class,” for example.”

“There is a way to ensure that the impact of race on cities is made visible and addressed. It is embedded in the Equipt to Innovate framework developed jointly by the research team at Governing and the nonprofit Living Cities. The framework, which is used to assess cities on their capacity to grow and innovate, is anchored in seven key characteristics of high-performance government. But what makes it unique in its usefulness is having at its center a racial equity lens. We recently released the second annual Equipt to Innovate report, which you can find at ” [].

“U.S. Births decreased in 2017” []. “Births have declined for three consecutive years following increases in 2013 and 2014. With fewer births, and less net migration, demographics will not be as favorable as I was expecting a few years ago.”

News of The Wired

UPDATE “The Psychology of Money” []. “[F]inance is entertaining in a way other things – orthodontics, gardening, marine biology – are not. Money has competition, rules, upsets, wins, losses, heroes, villains, teams, and fans that makes it tantalizingly close to a sporting event. But it’s even an addiction level up from that, because money is like a sporting event where you’re both the fan and the player, with outcomes affecting you both emotionally and directly.”

Mars is for wusses:

Microsoft has announced plans to acquire the sun, revealed in a conference call today. A spokeswoman cited benefits of sun ownership, predicting it will smooth the permitting process to install a Dyson sphere.
“Really the logical next step,” said CEO Satya Nadella, “after GitHub”

— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity)

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Readers, feel free to 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):

TH writes: “Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. These flowers depend on nature for their water. This (April 2017) was a fairly good rain year so I braved the 2.5 hour drive to see the wildflowers. Lancaster, California.”

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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.

154 comments

  1. DJG

    The continuing effects of the Maureen Dowd column: The issue isn’t that Obama is twenty years ahead of his time. The issue is that he was twenty years behind the time. And proof?

    The economic policy of warmed-over Reaganism after his public admission of being an admirer of Reagan.

    And?

    Tim Kaine. I don’t believe in capital punishment, but I will make an exception for whoever decided that Tim Kaine, Spanish-speaking neoliberal, was ever-so-qualified to be VP.

    And?

    Obama’s subsequent behavior with regard to his archive, which curiously will have no paper records, on a piece of park land that he shouldn’t have been given access to–it’s positively Richie Daley-ish–and Obama un-knowable-ish. (Which makes me wonder about O’s famously complex interior life.)

    And?

    That last line of Dowd’s column. “Michigan.” !!! Obama sees Mothra descending on the Democratic Picnic…

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Obama – The Most Mendacious President Ever!

      or

      Obama MMP!

      Ahead of this time? Oh really – Medicare for all or private insurance?

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I was told by a higher level campaign operative in 2008 that it was Kaine a few days before Biden’s name surfaced. Apparently, my reaction and the reaction of others they told around the state wasn’t what they expected wanted to hear.

      As for mendacity, Obama identified with Spock on Star Trek. Usually, aliens on Trek represent modern humans, and humans represent our Nietzschean values. Spock is reliant on Vulcan religion (logic worship)

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      So it appears that Obama was about more than just the money. He wants the adulation of the loving crowd and the worship of History’s Scribes too.

      Perhaps if his detractors can make a point of making their contempt for Obama-the-man and Obama-the-historical-figure known to Obama from time to time, it may lessen his transcendent joy in the money he expects to harvest over the decades to come . . . all those beautiful tubmans.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I noted this the other day, but Obama’s point about how he was 10 to 20 years ahead of his time, ignoring the obvious problem of Hillary losing versus Obama winning with that line of argument, more or less emphasized his was a wasted Presidency.

        Even now, Democratic hopefuls are at least paying lip service to Single Payer in some fashion, a direct attack on the Obama legacy no matter how you slice it. Where are the calls to follow the Obama model on policy x or campaign y? There are none because he was a failed President who largely followed the right wing policies already in place.

        Reply
    4. clarky90

      I agree that “Obama was twenty years ahead of his time”, if we were to continue along our present road.

      Obama could have been the perfect “2036, Big Brother”!

      “Orwell got the idea for the name of Big Brother from advertising billboards for educational correspondence courses from a company called Bennett’s, current during World War II. The original posters showed J. M. Bennett himself: a kindly-looking old man offering guidance and support to would-be students with the phrase “Let me be your father” attached….”

      Reply
  2. Scott

    Re: The tariffs and the impact on manufacturers. Be very careful believing them. Tariffs are what they’re blaming, but whether they’re the real reason for the rising prices or offshored production is another story. For example, a vendor at work raised prices as soon as they were announced, without waiting for the final details. Would they have lowered prices if the tariffs when away? Maybe, but it looks like the firm found the tariffs to be a convenient excuse for something it wanted to do anyway. This way people blame Trump, rather than the company and if the tariffs go away, then profits rise.

    Reply
  3. Big River Bandido

    Re: Chasing Hillary

    Would you read that, so that I don’t have to?

    Honestly, reading Shattered was too much for me. Though I expected to be filled with schadenfreude (and I was), that wasn’t enough to compensate for the time I wasted reading an “inside” account based on facts already obvious to those of us on the outside. I felt like my 30 bucks could have been spent on something more enjoyable…like a copay for a colonoscopy.

    To have to sift through the opinions of all those incompetent, whining neoliberals with their preening self-regard, sense of entitlement, kooky conspiracy theories and all-encompassing arrogance? Just to get at the reasons Clinton lost? I mean, I get that the account was supposed to be from *their* perspective. But I’ve had quite enough of *their* perspective to last me this lifetime.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      I read both books. When it comes to explaining why the Democrats lost in 2016 — and in previous years — Thomas Frank’s book, Listen Liberal, does a much better job.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Frank and the insiders work at different levels of abstraction; both are important. (And I think Chozick, as a “professional” — “striver” is the word that she uses — fits into Frank’s framework very well.) In particular, you can see Chozick struggling, it is fair to say, with the sycophancy Frank describes so well.

        Chozick’s book also gives a good picture of how the sausage — the news– is made, something Shattered does not do, and is not in Frank’s remit for Listen, Liberal!

        Reply
        1. Anon

          Glad that you enjoyed Chasing Hillary. For those that don’t wish to read, here’s a thread with highlights, most of which are quite good:

          That said, what books form the complete (or as close to complete) story of 2016? From a cursory glance, it seems to be:

          1. Shattered
          2. Listen, Liberal!
          3. Chasing Hillary

          Of course, it could very well be more than 3 books or even less than 3 books that form the whole story. What do you all think?

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            i’m waiting for the graphic novel version. clinton in her specially engineered pantsuit, buff bernie, boris and natasha.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            How about a new book on the subject? It could be called “Saving Hillary Clinton” and would be all about her redemption after 2016.

            Reply
        2. geoff

          One of the things I found most interesting about the Chozick book was how she unquestioningly accepted the Intelligence Community’s “the DNC/ Podesta e-mails published by wikileaks were ‘hacked’ by Russia” story, even lamenting that she (Chozick) unwittingly assisted the Trump campaign in writing about them (the e-mails). This despite no proof at all that the Russian government was involved in the leaks, AND that no one has been able to show that the leaked e-mails are not authentic.

          Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        Agree. Frank’s mission was quite a different one though…he was indicting an entire ideology rather than merely its best (worst?) exponent.

        Reply
      3. ewmayer

        FYI, as good as Listen, Liberal is in the main, my one major complaint is that Frank appears to uncritically buy into the Russia-as-evil-empire meme.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wait for “books like that” to show up on remainder or for $2.00 at the Friends of the Library Book Sale. Then I can thumb through them and see if I want to pay the remainder price or the friends price.

      Sometimes I will look through them while new to make a mental note to consider them when they go on remainder or Friends Sale.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        Normally, I would buy these kinds of books late as well. But the Clinton campaign was like that horrible car wreck that one simply can’t *not* look at…usually I turn away, but this time, I just couldn’t.

        I’d just rather not have had to sift through the friendly point of view to get to the details. It was hard enough having to listen to all those people spew all that crap in real time for 10 months. I couldn’t stand having to re-live it all through their lying eyes, again.

        Reply
    3. cm

      Check out Donna Brazile’s book. Much more enjoyable reading (I say this as an ardent Sanders supporter).

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        Thanks for the tip. That was another of those I thought I would ignore entirely, considering the source. But given your recommendation, I’ll look for a markdown copy of that. It’s been out long enough that the book is probably available at a price…closer to its actual worth. I’m headed out of town for 10 days and I’ll need some beach reading…

        Reply
      2. Susan C

        I highly recommend Donna Brazile ‘s book. Very interesting, insightful. Not at all like I imagined.

        Reply
    4. flora

      an aside re: “UPDATE “Bill Clinton bristles at questions on Lewinsky, #MeToo””

      One thing never considered, or at least written/talked about, is how many people cringed at the thought of Bill C. back in the W.H. again with access to young female interns.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        Actually, I did see a meme on Instagram within a few days after the 2016 election…a photo of Bill Clinton with a deflated look on his face. Caption: “Bill Clinton realizes he won’t have access to a fresh crop of White House interns.”

        I would love to provide a link, but I am not great at finding old links in this way, and especially with “apps” that are phone-centric.

        Reply
      2. Richard

        I’ve wondered about that, and if Bill actually ended up costing her votes. He’s really pretty obviously a predator.

        Reply
      3. wilroncanada

        I doubt that was a major disappointment. He now has lots of money. T.hat brings access to all kinds of things, including to nubile young women. And lots of travel for his “speeches” and lots of dropping in on his “charitable works” puts him in close proximity to many idealistic (or on the make) young people.

        Reply
  4. Carolinian

    The burger chain has been systematically adding self-service ordering kiosks and table service to its restaurants. Internationally, these kiosks and mobile ordering are already integrated, and the United States is just a little behind. But this will soon change.

    Another change McDonald’s is looking into domestically is a delivery option, which would attempt to meet customer demand and the change in how consumers want to get their food.

    So table service, home delivery and taking food out to the curb…this doesn’t exactly sound like a move toward fewer employees. Even the silly kiosks don’t eliminate the cashier who still has to be there for those who don’t have plastic.

    Frankly, I would question the whole notion that self checkout at McD or grocery stores is about cutting staff. My impression is that often they think customers want this for the convenience of those who are in a hurry. The exception might be Walmart Grocery (we have one) where they do seem to be eliminating cashiers in favor of self checkout. That store has now added five more self checkout machines and dropped to one human cashier. My nearest full Walmart has no self checkouts.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I am morally opposed to walmart, so I usually never darken their door…but I had to , today.(eldest needed rubbers(!) and wife insisted that we do it anonymously in another town,lol)
      store was moderately filled with the usual “people of walmart”, milling around, not “dead”, at all.
      get to the checkout, and there’s a woman being the Minder for the Machine Checkouts(because they’re mindless) and one(1) actual living, breathing cashier.
      At the former…no customers. Minder looks bored…even somewhat lonely(and maybe even feels ridiculous).
      at the latter…line of 15 baskets…some filled to the brim. we had only 4 “items” so guy with filled basket puts us ahead of him(solidarnosc!), and we start talking about the situation. I indicate that I will never bow to our would-be robot overlords, pointing to the Machine checkers and their minder….because I like humans, and if humans are required to have jobs to be worthy of life, I’ll vote with my meager fundage for actual humans doing actual jobs.
      the guy agrees heartily, and others are apparently listening, because they also agree…all obviously have thought about this—which is remarkable to me and my prejudices about said “people of walmart”.
      Suddenly, checkers—the human kind–appear out of nowhere and open up six(6) aisles…I noted that no managers were needed, no cash drawers were moved, all had been ready and waiting as if for some signal(I glanced at the comeyes on the ceiling).
      I asked the new human cashier that we got what gives? where was she 10 minutes ago?
      “stocking”.
      so the machine replaces human motif goes even deeper than cashiers.
      (a further observation: prolly 80% of the walmart “associates” I saw(the human kind) were older than me, and I’m almost 50)

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Lacking all morality I go to Walmart when I need what’s at Walmart–not all the time. The one closest to my house had self checkout but took them out. Theft was probably the reason but there’s no question most people prefer human cashiers when available and since Walmart has lots of competition including a nearby Publix (which has no self checkout) that may have had something to do with it.

        Since I’m one of those impatient types I use self checkout when it’s available in lieu of the long lines over at the regular checkout lanes. I do think the stores include it as a convenience factor but that could be changing. Jeff Bezos has even opened a store with no checkouts at all (bring your smartphone).

        Reply
      2. crittermom

        My local Wallyworld (which I avoid if at all possible) has also installed more self-checkout lanes, which are often empty.
        I, too, am one of those who will stand in line for an actual cashier even if prompted to use the self-checkout.
        Why should I do all the work as a customer, while putting someone else out of a job?

        I love my local grocery store (still part of a major chain). They have no self-checkouts. Each of the employees is extremely nice & helpful, & from speaking to them their company treats them well, too.
        The atmosphere is SO much nicer there than Wallyworld (Walmart). I always leave wearing a smile. It’s contagious, as their employees are wearing them, too. I sure wish other companies would take their lead!

        I fear any of the employees at Wally’s may ‘go postal’ at any moment since they admittedly hate their jobs.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          The Walmart grocery I mentioned cut back on cashiers at the same time that they started their “order online” service so it’s possible that those cashiers were put to work doing something else like pulling orders. Walmart is now pushing the web thing to compete with Amazon (the place where you definitely absolutely don’t want to work).

          When I lived in Atlanta the Krogers were union but i recall picket lines around the Publix. Non union retail pay tends to be low,and probably not much different from Walmart (which did raise their pay a bit).

          Reply
        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          aye. the one grocer here sucks pretty bad(i worked there for a while, and really tried to get the produce up to snuff, but Suck is the bidness model*), so that’s reserved for milk and bread. one city in our county…”civilisation” is an hour away, so we drive once a month to stock up to heb. (prolly not supposed to plug) they also appear to treat their people well, and have even bent over backwards to help me find things. that’s the way my grandad did business—be good to your people, and your customers=long term stability
          as for the old folks working at that walmart, I have no idea of their situation. that’s in yet another county in the other direction.

          Profit, and “efficiency”, uber alles—the main way the big corps do things—are what is at issue.
          the walmart model is like eating the seed corn.
          at some point, there ain’t enough demand even for “low low prices” for plastic pumpkins.(* and the Suck spreads, our little junior corporate grocer maintains Suck to “compete” with walmart)

          Reply
      3. beth

        Older people often like part time jobs. Maybe Walmart gets fewer complaints from these employees. Just speculating.

        I also see more immigrants over 40. Maybe they are just glad to have a job. I have no information.

        Yes, I avoid Walmart if I can. In fact I have learned that stores in low income neighborhoods have higher prices in the cash register that on the shelves. As much a $1 per item. The thief is not the customer or are they balancing to cover the customer thief.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          That price disparity could be because the people doing the signage are stretched too thin and do not get to all their tasks in the allotted time. So, stuff doesn’t get done. Changing prices on the shelf edge is no fun, I’ve done it. With the “get it done yesterday” work ethic now in command most places retail, there are a lot of ‘blown off’ tasks.
          Your comment also brought to mind the sudden surge in retail prices, in grocery especially.
          Last week I took another trip back to the Chicken Palace at their new digs to look for something in particular. I spoke to one of the young men I had worked with when I was there. Out of roughly fifteen ‘crewmembers’ in the store, the hourly crew, that I had seen three months ago, only three were still with the outfit. The young man I spoke to was close to leaving for greener pastures himself.
          “Why don’t you reapply?” he laughingly asked me.
          “They wouldn’t have me back even if I did apply,” I answered. “I stood up to them too much.”
          “Yes, there is that,” he musingly replied. “Maybe that’s why no one ever says on career day in school that they want to be a Chicken Palace retail specialist.”
          “The kids aren’t as dumb as people think then” I said.
          “If that’s so,” he thought out loud, “then where do all these dumb adults come from?”
          “Beats me,” I chimed in. “Maybe it’s the water?”
          “D—! If you’re right, we are well and truly f—-d.”
          On that sunny outlook we parted ways.

          Reply
    2. HotFlash

      home delivery

      Don’t know how it would work in your country, but here in Canada McD’s already does home delivery via UberEats, Foodora, etc. So, no new employees needed (ding!), all costs and risk offloaded to ‘self-employed’ precariate (ding ding ding!!).

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Wasn’t McDonalds one of the fiercest opponents of the whole concept of $15/hour for Fast Food Labor? If my memory is wrong then what I am about to write will make no sense. But if my memory is correct, the rest of this little comment might be useful.

      If McDonalds is the primary driver against Fight For Fifteen, then their drive to automate the “stores” might be more ideologically based than profit-seeking-through-expense-cutting. If that is so, then other Fast Food chains may lag behind McDonalds in broad and deep automation. This may give Fight For Fifteen a point of attack against McDonalds. Because if the McDonalds model works, other Fast Food Chains will be driven to adopt it. But if the McDonalds model fails, then perhaps McDonalds will fail along with it. And if the McDonalds model can be MADE to fail, then perhaps McDonalds may be MADE to fail along with it.

      As McDonalds becomes more visibly automated-up and destaffed-down, Fight For Fifteen and others may want to create and lead a project called ” Don’t eat where people can’t work.” If every person who feels people should get to work for whatEVER wage instead of being automated out of a job altogether were to rigidly refuse to ever buy anything from McDonalds and instead do all their paid-for-with-money Fast-Food eating at OTHER stores and restaurants instead, McDonalds might lose a measurable amount of bussiness . . . and the others might gain that same measurable amount of bussiness. The goal would be to exterminate autoMcDonalds from existence and turn each and every one of its outlets into a dusty cobwebby hole. The point would be made that an aroused Lower Class Populace can wreak a terrible vengeance on a Big-name chain for taking gruel out of the mouths of wage-slaves. The other Big-name chains would behold the Death Of Every McDonalds and tremble at the sight.

      Then they would not dare to try automating their way out of higher wages when Fight For Fifteen circled back to fight for fifteen from the other Fast Food chains.

      Reply
  5. ChrisAtRU

    2018

    #TheIntercept

    It’s not that (Establishment) Dems don’t have a message, it’s just the worst possible one.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks. I had that one teed up, but just couldn’t get to it.

      Somehow, I don’t think “It’s our party, not yours” is going to be any more effective than “It’s her turn” was….

      Reply
    2. DonCoyote

      Yes. After reading the doom and gloom about how California’s top-two system might prevent the Democrats from gaining control of the House, it stuck me how the language used perfectly portrays the neoliberal rot–it’s not about making things better for anyone (except the party), it’s about control. (And if there are seven Democrats and five Republicans running, isn’t the vote being split for both parties?)

      “Why do we have the choice of 30 breakfast cereals but only two political parties?”–George Carlin? {Not verified, anyone know?}

      Meanwhile, California’a “top two” is (probably) putting a , Kenneth Mejia, on the ballot against Jimmy Gomez. Sounds like a win to me.

      Reply
  6. grayslady

    “an obvious move is to eliminate sit-down dining altogether, which would destroy McDonalds’ function as a community center”

    This is a very important point. A number of years ago I discovered that, in Wisconsin, McDonalds offers free coffee to seniors. I wouldn’t have known if the woman behind the counter hadn’t mentioned that, if I was over 62 years old, I could receive free coffee. Somehow I can’t imagine a person-less voice at a kiosk asking me if I wanted free coffee because I appeared to be a senior! I also noticed several groups of seniors sitting at tables conversing with other seniors for a morning coffee get-together. Some just seemed to be drinking a beverage, but others had ordered something to eat. I’m sure McDonalds makes up in food revenue what they lose on a free senior cup of coffee. I can also say with some authority that seniors, as a group, abhor automated anything, except ATMs. Many reasons for this, but it is generally a truism, even for seniors who are relatively comfortable with technology.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      grayslady
      June 4, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I’m old, decrepit, and ornery, and I am fully comfortable with technology. I don’t use technology much because of two reasons:
      1. It doesn’t work, or doesn’t work very well.
      2. It works very well to screw (and not in a good way) me.

      Reply
  7. Mark Gisleson

    I haven’t read Chozick’s book, but I’ve read as many reviews and excerpts as I could. So far everything she writes is 100% consistent with my strongest belief about HRC’s campaigns: she has no clue how to run for office, and as a 2d rate narcissist she hires only people who aren’t as smart as she is. The result is that her campaigns aren’t campaigns, they’re crappy little cults where information is hoarded, not disseminated. There are zero opportunities for information to go from the grassroots level to the decision making level, not even blowback on obviously wrong strategies developed on high for use by the little people.

    Listening to old people talk about how things used to be better is tiresome, but I’m sure any ’70s Democratic party strategist given the tools now available to campaigns could wipe the floor with today’s fake experts. Like ad agency executives, today’s campaign mavens know nothing about selling product because their jobs require that they be able to make a clueless, narcissistic candidate happy. And then crank out some numbers that can be spun until they seem to say something.

    Winning is the last thing they think about. If you’re focused that far ahead, you’ll never keep your job on the campaign because you’ll be purged over something you didn’t even realize was a thing.

    /rant

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The result is that her campaigns aren’t campaigns, they’re crappy little cults where information is hoarded, not disseminated.

      Toward the end of the book Chozick gives a brief portrait of the people flying with Clinton in the front of the plane, right before Election Day; it’s all the tired old retreads who lost 2008 for her. Reversion to the mean (both senses). Clinton really does not have good judgment about the people she surrounds herself with, as the Podesta emails made clear, and Chozick’s book makes even more clear.

      Reply
      1. DonCoyote

        If you don’t want to read the book, you can get a sense of it from an NYT column by the author, , written in 2014.

        “This may represent Hillary Clinton’s biggest challenge for a hypothetical 2016 campaign. How can Clinton, who is 66, make American voters think about something other than her fraught personal and political past? How can she present herself as someone hungry to serve rather than as someone entitled to office?’

        I don’t think she did a good job on either of these.

        “The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail?”

        And we are still long Chaos.

        Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        Clinton really does not have good judgment about the people she surrounds herself with.

        Fixed that for you.

        Reply
    2. fresno dan

      Mark Gisleson
      June 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      I remember reading something about how Ms.Clinton apparently did not understand the nuances of the democratic delegate apportionment rules, and the Obama people just swept up all sorts of uncontested delegates. So either Bill was not the great political genius advertised, or Bill was not all that ….(dare I say it?) into Hillary…..

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        That would be consistent with the Webster Hubbell as Chelseas’ daddy theory you’ll find wherever tinfoil chapeaus are offered.
        I just did some Googlijg of Web Hubbell and, lo and behold!, the right sidebar shows a big picture of Hubbell, and then several smaller pictures of Chelsea Clinton!!!
        See, if it renders properly:
        This conspiracy theory is growing legs.

        Reply
      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        The two factors at play are:

        -My gut is the end of the JFK era Democrat (not necessarily Jack related but the World War II vets entering political and civic life) opened the Democratic Party in the 80’s for the Third Way and the New Democrats to ascend in the party. Moonbeam and Tsongas made Billy look like a Bolshevik. Then we get the collapse of 41 along with the Perot insurgency. The competition wasn’t that stiff. In 1996, he ran against an impotence spokesman.

        -The amount of time spent defending Bill Clinton especially after 1994 from Republicans launched by fellow predators such as Dennis Hastert addled the minds of many Democrats. 2016 didn’t break their minds. They were broken long ago. To justify these crazed defenses (see the people still attacking Lewinsky), tribalists needed to cook up a reason to explain Bill, and they settled on his political acumen as an acceptable reason. Then they can just hand wave any complaint by saying plebes wouldn’t understand or would lose.

        In the case of 2007/2008, its important to remember this line from Ted Kennedy’s book too:

        Telling a friend about the conversation, Kennedy recalled Clinton had said “a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee,” the authors paraphrase.

        Southern Democrats don’t have the greatest history on race relations, and Bill’s cronies were always advocates of “smart” politics of moving right to confuse Republican voters into voting for them or some such non sense. Their values are likely simply horrid. The imagery of a former President with the surname Clinton telling a Senator with a name wrapped up in the immigrant experience to be telling.

        Reply
        1. fresno dan

          NotTimothyGeithner
          June 4, 2018 at 8:58 pm

          long time no see NTG. Always appreciate and learn something from your comments.

          Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      “…I’m sure any ’70s Democratic party strategist given the tools now available to campaigns could wipe the floor with today’s fake experts.”

      Even earlier. Can you imagine modern campaigns coming up against the old ward-heelers from a century ago? People who knew the people that lived in those wards intimately, who helped with a kind word to a judge in a court-room, helped new arrivals find homes and jobs, arranged for medical care for the sick, had midwives ready for those about to give birth, had drinks with the locals at the watering holes, etc – all in exchange for their vote come each election.

      Reply
      1. sleepy

        Had an uncle who was a precinct captain in Chicago in the 50s and 60s, a union plumber with a city job. His political job was to act as the advocate for his neighbors in dealing with city hall. Trash wasn’t picked up? Widow O’Hara’s property tax was too high? Playground needed sprucing up? Give him a call and it would be taken care of pronto. Just remember to vote right come election day. And he would know who you voted for.

        Reply
  8. Louis Fyne

    –“Joe Biden steams into midterm campaigns as 2020 question looms” [NBC News].

    The Democratic Party septa-octogenarian baby boomers are starving the oxygen of the next-next generation of supposedly progressive leaders/politicians.

    While Obama did practically nothing to lay the groundwork for Democrats aged in their 50’s, save lending his name to a few “chosen ones” in very safe blue states like Deval Patrick and Kamala Harris.

    Obama won supposedly deep red Indiana in 2008. Would’ve been nice to build a foundation to keep swing states in play with a new generation of politicians.

    Oh wait, it’s the feature, to milk DC connections for your own benefit, not a bug.

    Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        You are correct. An 80-year old today would have been born in 1938; the first wave of “Baby Boomers” were born ~ 1946-55, rendering them now between ages 63 and 72.

        Reply
        1. Joe Renter

          I think you have that a bit wrong on dates. I am 61 and always thought I was a late Boomer.

          via, goblingoogle…
          The oldest baby boomers started turning 65 back in 2011, and many of them have already retired. The aging of this massive generation born between 1946 and 1964 will have significant implications for the entire country, according to a series of recent Census Bureau reports.

          Reply
    1. Jim Haygood

      Please don’t the animals in the political zoo:

      Howard Schultz’s decision to retire [from Starbucks], a plan he said he privately outlined to the board a year ago, will most likely stoke speculation that he is considering a run for president in 2020.

      He is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for the Democratic party and has become increasingly vocal on political issues, including criticizing President Trump earlier this year as “a president that is creating episodic chaos every day.”

      While Mr. Schultz, 64, typically bats away speculation about his political ambitions with an eye roll or a pithy answer, on Monday he acknowledged for the first time that it is something he may consider. — NYT

      Schultz/Zuckerberg 2020 — coffee and Facebook, the new apple pie and Chevrolet.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think Schultz might open all public restrooms in all public buildings to the public.

        How anyone can get inside the CIA headquarters to use theirs is up to the candidate to explain.

        Reply
  9. Geo

    “Youtubers with millions of followers are dropping out, citing stress and burnout from algorithm kremlinology”

    Welcome the the entertainment industry. Anyone who goes into it expecting stability is in it for the wrong reasons. The sad thing is seeing the abuse that has always been inflicted on creatives (who take it because they are driven by their passion to create and the rewards that come from entertaining/informing audiences) have spilled out into the regular workforce.

    As a filmmaker I’ve been an independent contractor my whole life and am used to not getting paid, paid less for more work, having my world used without permission or payment, and random swings in popularity and income. Now, thanks to the gig economy and corporate greed everyone from taxi drivers to housekeepers to office assistants are treated this way.

    Reply
        1. ambrit

          That’s appropriate. Much that passes for “Entertainment” is also associated with the rear end of a cow.

          Reply
        1. freedomny

          People who “brand” in certain ways are such bs’rs. I’m all for the witty/authentic/fun way to describe something….but the misleading stuff I see on …oh my. Be careful out there folks.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          I have read and heard in many places, including on various public radio programs or parts of programs, as to how it is necessary to “be” a brand, to manage one’s own brand, etc. This propaganda is widespread enough that probably millions of desperate people feel that is what they have to do to even hope to survive. So they are acting on the mind-molding advice they have been given over and over.

          Such bullshit branding of self may not be their own choice.

          Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps these million-follower Youtubers-in-exile should find a way to work with digital engineers and designers to create a Fair Tube which could post and host submitter-videos with total fairness and no kremlinology.

      Reply
    2. curlydan

      Sounds like you’ve been ripped off by a variety of people, Geo. The gig economy often traps people on one platform, especially for our monopolies of Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon.

      IIRC Yves Smith often states, “If your business model depends on a single platform, you don’t have a good business model.”

      Reply
    3. Summer

      More and more the intrinsic value of the arts is devalued.
      For example, a dance instructor only on YouTube is being told their skill has no value other than for promotion of some other corporate product. The instructor now not only has the corporate middle man of the product in between them and payment but another middle man, YouTube or another platform in between them and payment. The middle men skim off the top or all of it.
      Now that is being spread over all skills.
      So I expect much more “depression” to take hold of people.

      Reply
  10. Synoia

    Biden: No. Never, never, never, never, never. No.

    You’re sure about that? Seems a little equivocal.

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      Synoia
      To riff on an old Irish tune:
      I’ll say no no never,
      No no never no more
      Will I play the Dem saviour,
      No never no more.

      Reply
  11. Lambert Strether Post author

    I forgot to say that I stayed at a hotel in the “Pod” chain, and the IT system failed for well over half-a-day, leading to a manual check-in process (and not even a credit card transaction!). Staff say this is a frequent occurrence.

    I like the hotel a lot, but were the owner, , publicly traded, I’d call them an “IT short.”

    Reply
  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    If Biden enters the primaries, I hope the Fake Democrat Party does not rig the primaries against Real Democrats the way the Fake Democrat National Committee rigged the primary and nomination system against the Real Democrat Sanders. If Biden won the primaries fair and square without any rigging, that might show that he is not evil in the same way that Clinton is. In which case, I would feel free to vote for some better Third Party alternative rather than having to vote for Trump again to make sure of defeating Biden.

    About Sanders’s choice of words . . . ” working families” . . . and such, since he has been a successful politician up to now, I trust his instincts about what language can gain support without being twisted by evil sappers as against what language can’t. Working families is a least a semi-code for “working class families” . . . . and I do not detect any hidden message that any laws designed to benefit working “families” will be engineered to withhold those benefits from working “singles” or working “free-random-associations of co-living partners”.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      As a working non-traditional-family-member, I agree with Lambert. Bernie, Bernie, leave no vote uncourted!

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        That is certainly a fair viewpoint.

        My fair viewpoint is this. Bernie is trying to reach the millions of working class people who would be humiliated to be referred to as “working class”. They are the millions of working class people who view themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires . . . as John Steinbeck once said decades ago. He is trying to win them back from the Republican party.

        I am a single working non-family member living alone. I could decide to feel I deserve to be courted as well. But I am agenda-focused on getting step-by-step to the New Deal Restoration. I don’t assume or suspect that the Bernie agenda intends to withhold from single me the class agenda rights and benefits that he overtly names “working families” as deserving. I will vote for him, or not, at various levels based on my understanding of whether his agenda suits my interests, not whether I feel I have been sufficiently courted as a single non-family working person.

        But if enough people send that particular objection in notes and letters to his people, enough such notes and letters may well make their way up the command chain, and Bernie may well give the language-matter thought.

        Reply
    2. CloverBee

      I like the choice of words “working families” because having a family is hard for working class and middle class families. Loss of 1 job in most professional, middle class families would push them rapidly into the working class or poverty, so it is important not to exclude them in the discussion for needing support.

      Reply
  13. curlydan

    The Tesla fix–and maybe more importantly–Consumer Reports’ reaction, are really weird. So Tesla fixes its braking distances via a software patch (i.e. when driver hits brakes, brake harder!), and now Consumer Reports can recommend the car?

    If anything, Consumer Reports should unequivocally reject the Model 3 for (1) having bad braking distances and (2) Tesla’s outsourcing its QC to a third party company. Who knows what CR didn’t test that still needs to be fixed?

    Also, one issue that I’ve always had with CR, is their sample sizes are CRAP. There can be huge variability on any production line, but CR is getting 1, maybe 2, Model 3s. Who knows what other production line issues may or may not show up in the model they get.

    The mere fact that CR can recommend a car when it failed a key test initially is really worrisome, and the Tesla 3 should be expressly not recommended for that very reason–whether Tesla fixed the problem or not.

    Reply
    1. John k

      Most recalls of serious issues take years to resolve and fix. This was done days after CR complained, showing how much musk values CR views.
      First, I’ve often wondered why long time mfrs don’t jump on issues that bother CR.
      My critique of Tesla is, why didn’t they fix this earlier? Didn’t know? Too busy with other Tesla model 3 issues?
      Notwithstanding the small sample size, those buyers that report to CR apparently love the car.
      I wonder why this site and commenters dislike Tesla… moving a needle we want moved? Making a product buyers like… unlike volt? Maybe wasting rich investors money moving the needle? Don’t treat workers well… but that’s typ of today’s world. Don’t like the move to robotics? Everybody’s doing that…

      Reply
  14. diptherio

    PeerTube would be my perfered alternative to YouTube. It’s a federated, open-source project, so there are no overseers and users can design their own video s. Now in public beta with over 100 instances and 7500 videos.

    Reply
  15. Greg Taylor

    Easily reduced Tesla stopping distances were apparently a design trade-off against other performance measures, perhaps braking energy recapture or brake maintenance costs. Would be interested to know more on this.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      whoever ran the trade study should be fired then. Emergency braking capability is pretty high on mazlov’s hierarchy of car needs.

      The fact that software is in control of non traction limited braking function is one more reason not to own a tesla.

      Reply
    2. HotFlash

      Indeed! I wondered what the trade-off was. Will they tell us, or will we just have to wait and see?

      Reply
  16. XXYY

    [Today host Craig Melvin] then asked [Bill Clinton] if he ever apologized to Lewinksy.

    I am no fan of Bill Clinton, but AFAIK Lewinsky was a full and enthusiastic participant in her escapades with Clinton, and acted in the full knowledge that he was married to another woman at the time. She was not assaulted, raped, or coerced (again, AFAIK), but rather was clearly drawn to being repeatedly intimate with a powerful man, who was clearly drawn to her.

    We need to be careful not to conflate victims with willing participants. Clinton obviously should not have been having sex with White House staff, but White House staff should not have been having sex with Clinton, either. I assume either party could have avoided or stopped this affair at any time. Assigning the woman the role of “victim” in a consensual affair smacks of paternalism and the sexist morality of a bygone era.

    Let’s save apologies for when we’re talking about people who had no choice.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      XXYY
      June 4, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Very, very good points XXYY. As in the case of Samantha Bee, when one gets into “tribes” logic, principal, consistency goes right out the window (the “C” word is horrible, horrible misogyny except when used against repub women). And the unfortunate thing is that it diminishes all the real and true claims out there – but if it doesn’t suit a connected tribe’s agenda, such claims are rarely addressed.

      Reply
      1. RUKidding

        I really disagreed with Samantha Bee saying that. She’s pretty spot-on, otherwise, but I don’t care that she’s a woman.

        She really lost her powerful message by sinking to the use of that word. No points for that one.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > AFAIK Lewinsky was a full and enthusiastic participant in her escapades

      I’m sure every workplace abuser says the same. Because that’s what Clinton was.

      Reply
    3. RUKidding

      An argument can be made that Clinton was Lewinsky’s supervisor/boss/whatever, and, as such, he should have never engaged in any sexual acts with her, no matter how consensual it was between two adults.

      But I agree that Lewinsky, AFAIK, was not coerced, and quite possibly was the prime mover, as it were. It was not a good a decision on either Clinton’s or Lewinsky’s part, but let’s get real: these sorts of office “romances” happen quite frequently, whether they “should” or not.

      There are other women who claim that Clinton raped and/or coerced them. That is a more serious issue.

      I’m pretty tired of nattering about whether Clinton apologized to Lewinsky or not. What difference does it make at this point? As taxpayers, we paid million$ of dollar$ for Ken Starr’s pervy report. Can we move on, finally? Please?

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        What matters more than any apology is the absurd self-pitying Clinton as victim jag he goes off on in the course of dealing with the issue.

        Also, whatever happened to the glib, outwardly earnest show of shallow empathy towards all with which he used to cloak the worst of this? This is an absolute shell of the former Bubba.

        Reply
    4. False Solace

      In the victim sweepstakes I agree there are people who deserve more sympathy than Lewinsky. But come on. She was 22 years old. 22! An intern. He was the President of the United States, decades older, and her boss. Who bears the most responsibility for the relationship? Who paid most of the price? Lewinsky has said in interviews that she felt suicidal for years on end. Her name was made a laughingstock. Hillary called her a “narcissistic loony toon”.

      The whole thing is gross. To say that both parties were totally on equal terms is also gross.

      Reply
      1. Mildred Montana

        Lewinsky boasted to a friend about taking her “Presidential kneepads” to the White House and has said that the relationship was consensual. But in these hysterical times I guess “consensual” no longer means consensual and, anyway, how could a woman of “only” 22 possibly consent?

        Reply
      2. XXYY

        22 is an adult in every state.

        Again, if Lewinsky ever felt her relationship with Clinton was a bad idea, she could have stopped it at any time. I assume she did not think it was a bad idea.

        We can’t on the one hand have a whole movement dedicated to the proposition that women are equal to men and are the active agents of their own lives (which I fully believe and support), but then on the other cry about how “a man made me do it” when a woman makes a decision she later regrets. Being saddled with the consequences of their own bad decisions is a state of affairs that men have been living with for some time now. Welcome to the party.

        I’m certainly not trying to give Bill Clinton a pass. At least one other women has come forward and claimed Clinton actually raped her. If true this is obviously a case where there was genuine victimhood.

        Reply
    5. Richard

      Lewinsky was not raped, but it was clearly a situation of immense power imbalance, and not simply a case of two free agents hooking up. It reflects poorly on his character, but that’s it, and I agree it’s pointless to press for further apologies at this point.
      Listen to Juanita Broaderick’s story as well though. I believe Bill Clinton absolutely did rape her when he was attorney general in Arkansas, campaigning for Governor. I know this might already be your point, not to conflate relatively trivial offenses with rape. But I just wanted to make sure that you (and others) knew that a very credible accusation has been made.

      Reply
  17. hemeantwell

    We need to be careful not to conflate victims with willing participants

    And while we’re at it, let’s extend that care to sex workers. They are apparently really suffering after FOSTA and SESTA were passed by carpet-bombing moralists.

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    No one knows why the Model 3’s original braking distance was so long, except perhaps a few engineers at Tesla. If the company didn’t know about the issue when it sold the cars, why didn’t it? If it did, why did it not fix the issue before selling the car?

    Even more alarming to this software engineer is this: If Tesla can fix their car’s brakes with an OTA software update, they can also intentionally or accidentally ruin the car’s brakes the same way!

    Vital car safety systems should not be at the mercy of black box software that is being casually changed from week to week in response to magazine articles and other things.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And they could intentionally ruin or disengage the brakes of not only a whole kind of car, but of even one particular individual car of that type . . . chosen because of the person who owns it and can be surveilled to be driving it at any one particularly opportune time or another.

      I thought I might eventually have to buy a car some day. But if our roads are going to be infested with unmarked robo killer-cars, then I won’t be buying a car ever. Why would I pay to be on a road full of digi-pathic robo-psycho killer cars? Bad enough I will have to face that anyway when walking or riding a bike.

      Reply
  19. Jim Haygood

    Update from (need I say it) the bearish Dr Hussman:

    Our measures of market internals remain unfavorable, as they have been since the week of Feb 2. If market internals improve, we’ll immediately adopt a neutral outlook.

    Here and now, however, we remain alert that there is an open trap door, in a market that I fully to expect to post negative total returns over the coming 12-year horizon.

    By “market internals” Dr H apparently refers to indicators such as new highs vs new lows (one of seven components in our mania-panic index) as well as other measures such as credit spreads and emerging markets, which have been acting skittish lately. Point taken.

    But these divergent internals echo the final year of Bubble I, when tech stocks were the only game in town while the rest of the market went nowhere. Today technology represents 28% of the S&P 500 index, nearly as high as its 30% weight at the end of 1999.

    Among the Five Horsemen of the Techpocalyse — the five largest stocks in the S&P 500 — Apple, Microsoft and Amazon are at fresh record highs, while Facebook notched a record high yesterday. Alphabet, the only member without a record high to its credit since Jan 26th, has recovered about 90 percent of its dip.

    Such narrow leadership, in which five giant stocks are rocketing to records while the broader S&P index remains more than 4 percent below its Jan 26th high, alludes to the poor internals mentioned by Dr H. If this proves to be the final blazing fireworks show of Bubble III, it may yet jack the mania-panic index back above 80 (flat-out mania).

    Reply
  20. Carolinian

    So Youtube video makers are having a hard time making money because of the confusing or perhaps arbitrary algorithm. If this had happened earlier we might not have had Lena Dunham? Why are we supposed to care about this?

    Youtube censorship would be a much bigger topic. Supposedly Google/Youtube had resisted doing so until recently, not because they are nice guys but for the obvious reason that the more they censor the fewer people watch Youtube. For Google it has always been about the clicks (unless you think the whole thing is a NSA conspiracy).

    That said, those of us who have defended Google in the past have been shot down by their recent content policing so who knows what is going on with them.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      So Youtube video makers are having a hard time making money because of the confusing or perhaps arbitrary algorithm. …Youtube censorship would be a much bigger topic.

      How is demonetization not censorship? It takes (some) time and (some) money to make these videos. Should it just be the preserve of people who are funded, either self or by ‘angels’? If so, prepare for a Youtube full of trust fund babies, Rush Limbaugh, and random people unboxing their new appliances.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        It takes (some) time and (some) money to make these videos.

        Really? Cameras and smartphones are everywhere these days. I don’t think creativity depends on the equipment.

        And IMO it would only be censorship if they were favoring one political view with higher payments than another. That isn’t what the Boing Boing story said. You could argue that Youtube is exploiting all this free content for an unfair buck but that’s something different.

        Reply
    2. neo-realist

      I still think Dunham would have happened. She grew up in privilege, including a mom who is a moderately known artist, which allowed her to make the connections in the industry which led to her first indie film project and the HBO TV show.

      Plus, objectively, if you get past her narcissistic self-promotion, she’s not a bad writer when comes to documenting the lives of privileged, yet dysfunctional millennials.

      Reply
  21. Catman

    A question I’ve been meaning to ask for a few days – what’s up with Mary Meeker’s debt slides at the end of her annual presentation?

    I always enjoy her global look, even though it does get insane as she adds slides every year. But she always ends with a look at “entitlements” at the end. It’s so weird.

    Reply
  22. Clive

    Re: “Working Families”

    Yes, what a ghastly expression. On BBC last week there was, stunning, a good programme. Yes, on the BBC, even nowadays one manages to sneak through I suppose. I think it’s on YouTube as a bootleg, but it’s really too British to be able to travel the cultural divide to be of interest or comprehension to a US audience so I won’t do a link.

    Anyhow, the main reason for mentioning it is that the programme was about (a diatribe against in fact) jargon. In an example singled out for ire was, rightly, “working families”. It is unquestionably jargon. A test for what is or isn’t jargon was described in the BBC programme — do people wishing to communicate (outside of the narrowness of, say, politicians) ever utter the phrase or word in real life speaking or conversation?

    No. I’ve never described myself as (part of? from? aspiring to be?) a “working family”. Nor has anyone used the term to describe themselves or another person or group. Sure, you might get “our family” or “my family” or “that odd family down the road”. And you might also get “I work as a teacher” or “she works at the store” or “I pretend to work in big finance but it’s not really proper work”.

    But no way would you ever use the term “working family” or “working families”. For a start, while both adults may be in employment if you have young children in your family unit, they can hardly be expected to work. Even in our so-called developed world, you don’t get child labour. And what happens if there’s a stay-at-home mom (or dad)? How many wage earners must there be as a proportion of eligible members of the family unit lest you lose the coveted designation “working family”?

    So nobody says it. If it’s an idiom that’s never used outside of a certain niche, it’s jargon. More than that, it’s rubbish, isn’t it?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If housework is work, then, all families (or most families*) are working families.

      *families come in all shapes and sizes, with various activity-preferences.

      Reply
    2. grayslady

      The reason for using “working families”, I’m convinced, is that “workers” sounds too much like the speaker either supports labor unions (gasp!) or else is a communist (double gasp!).

      Reply
      1. J Sterling

        I think the reason is that, contrary to cynicism, most people aren’t very selfish, and so don’t respond well to naked threats and bribes from politicians aimed at them. But allude to their spouse and children, and you can really put a few volts through their lizard brains.

        Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      You have to admit, using the term “working families” is a great way to divide the 90% against each other. Just have our elite ask who needs tax breaks more – working families or working singles and they can then step back and enjoy the fireworks while they grab most of the tax breaks for themselves.

      Reply
  23. clarky90

    Joe Rogan Experience #1125 – Candace Owens

    ;

    This is a two and a half hour long, sit down, face to face discussion by two engaging people. Joe Rogan is, “a progressive” (not Democrat). Candace Owens is, a “conservative” (not Republican).

    It is refreshing to listen to two smart people with different points of view. They obviously enjoy the interaction and each others presence.- the rough and tumble of trying to understand another person!

    I listened to the entire 151 minutes. “Informal civility”, without invectives. A pleasant blast of fresh air.

    Reply
  24. Scott

    This is a great article about the problems Democrats have on economic issues, they simply disagree.

    It doesn’t go as far as I’d like in comparing the Clinton wing of the party to the response to Great Depression, but the near unanimity on “social issues” is a telling contrast.

    The New Republic has a good summary of the firestorm on Twitter (mostly Matt Yglesies)

    Reply
    1. marku52

      Not only do they disagree, they seem thoroughly infected with the neoliberal plague

      “I’m worried about the deficit”

      Oh Dog, not again.

      Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      Thank you for that first link, it pretty well sums up the void of economic thought in the Democrat mainstream. Hoping that Richard Ojeda reads the article and takes up the author’s advice.

      Reply
  25. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Truck drivers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not like modern-day indentured servants. That is what we are here in California today to demand.

    The intercity truck drivers are looking at self-driving trucks replacing them.

    I hope Sanders addresses that, or perhaps there isn’t much he can do, except maybe the technology doesn’t arrive soon.

    Reply
  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Truck drivers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not like modern-day indentured servants. That is what we are here in California today to demand.

    The intercity truck drivers are looking at self-driving trucks replacing them.

    I hope Sanders addresses that, or perhaps there isn’t much he can do, except maybe the technology doesn’t arrive soon.

    Reply
  27. freedomny

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets national coverage ::

    She is a very impressive young woman. Went down to a rally of hers. Articulate, optimistic, smart – the real deal. Heard as we walked outside “wow, I wish she’d run for President” :)

    Apparently the establishment is quite shaken – which makes my cynical little heart dance with joy –

    Reply
  28. Summer

    Re: Youtubers with millions of followers dropping out of YouTube..

    I can’t help but think the days of millions of followers would come to a close any way as more and more people sign up to be attention hos for corporations as the only way to work in a growing “gig” economy. There are a more people with better skills, knowledge, and talent that haven’t been forced into the gig economy that soon will be.

    And remember My Space? It turned into a bunch of people, mainly musicians, with something to promote but nobody really listening.

    Reply
  29. drumlin woodchuckles

    Again I see that recently engineered social-justice-virtue-signalling word . . . Latinx.

    I will respond to it by writing/saying Latinxo or Latinxa as appropriate.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      In the old languages of Mexico, pre-conquest, x is pronounced “sh.”
      So, Latinsho and Latinsha. There! It’s those d—-d Russkies again! They’re trying to undermine not only our elections, but our language too!
      That Danielovitch Webster. He’s got a lot to answer for.

      Reply
  30. Darius

    I think I commented on this a few days ago regarding Joy Reid. All is forgiven. I once saw Wolf Blitzer subject Alan Grayson to cultural revolution style denunciation for saying the Republican healthcare plan was to die young. Of course Republican death panel talk is perfectly normal but Democrats must never ever criticize Republicans. Grayson’s big offense was to break out of the assigned Democrat role of patsy. Blitzer’s outrage at Grayson’s temerity was palpable. More of this Joy.

    Reply
  31. The Rev Kev

    “Robots Take More Jobs at McDonald’s”

    Read a book some time ago on the history of McDonalds and right from the get-go they were always trying to automatize and eliminate any us of skills in that job. At first they peeled their own potatoes for their chips on site but that was replaced by bags of frozen chips. And so it has gone on. It has been a driving force this idea of getting rid of skills and now people.

    Fun fact: McDonalds started in 1948 in San Bernadino in California. So did another quintessential America organization – the Hell’s Angels

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      Along with another quintessential American organization, Scientology. Mike Davis wrote about the interplay of the three in City of Quartz.

      Reply
  32. PressGaneyMustDie

    I disagree with the notion that Monica Lewinsky wasn’t victimized. Having your name become a pop-culture punchline that reduces your ability to find employment & make social connections seems pretty punishing to me. A lot of feminist & legal thought finds it inherently coercive for a powerful, older authority figure to to groom a much younger subordinate to be his or her groupie. I agree with you that Lewinsky voluntarily made her choice. Other women in Mr. Clinton’s predatory orbit were not so, um, autonomous.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      And, there were so many of them.
      Bill Clinton, on the available evidence, qualifies as a sexual predator. Hillary, whatever you may think of her, enabled this man, for whatever reason. So, she shares some of the guilt, like the owner of a vicious dog that attacks others.

      Reply
  33. Kfish

    The Youtube changes are a stark demonstration of how vulnerable people are if they have to rely on one of the big platforms for their business. Facebook has positioned itself as a business tool and encouraged businesses to rely upon it for their outreach. None of those businesses have any control over Facebook’s algorithms, or any way of knowing how many of the ‘hits’ reported and paid for on their ads went to real people versus spoof accounts.

    Amazon’s Kindle program has been doing this to small-scale writers for years. Every few years, the commissions and payment incentives change, requiring writers to change their product or master a new set of algorithms. If it’s not on your platform, it’s not your business – it’s theirs.

    Reply
  34. Altandmain

    Re: The articles on Tesla:

    If you want to see something alarming, apparently they are shipping knowingly defective parts and sacrificing quality to get the numbers up. This seems like a desperate and chaotic operation going on right now.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      I will take my amusement wherever I can find it.

      The cost of scrap has become so dramatic that, internally, Tesla documents sometimes quantify the amount of money wasted by comparing it to another eye-popping number — like the scrap cost’s equivalent measured in miles of $5 footlong Subway sandwiches (137.11 miles, in one case).

      Two charts showing inverter scrap costs from the start of the year to the end of May were accompanied by a calculation of how many new Model 3s someone could buy with the money wasted — 103.42 cars, to be exact.

      A similar set of charts calculating scrap costs for rotors noted that it could have purchased 4,878 hats for Musk’s Boring Company, priced at about $20 apiece.

      They saved the funniest for last. Every time I see a Tesla now I give it extra room and wonder, what could go wrong, in the next few seconds?

      Reply
  35. Wukchumni

    Back from the higher climes after beating the heat down here, where it was in the 100’s the past couple days…

    Didn’t see much in the way of wildlife until we got home here, and saw a wild turkey with 8 little chicks, which means they’ve moved in, I guess.

    Had a perfect game of a hike with my wife, a 5 mile jaunt where we saw not another human bean the whole way. It’s amazing how often it happens here in the National Park~

    Reply
  36. dcblogger

    this thread explains Trump perfectly:

    Believe it or not, Trump’s insane proclamation that he will keep tariffs in place until there are no more Mercedes on Fifth Avenue gave me a moment of clarity.
    I think I finally understand Trump’s economic philosophy now. And we are absolutely screwed.

    The one thing that you need to understand about Trump is that he is, at his core, a con man with no empathy. Therefore, he assumes that all other people are also con men with no empathy, and every exchange of goods and services that exists in the world is, on some level, a con.

    Trump assumes every transaction in the world — between people, businesses, nation-states, even between two different agencies of the same government — has a winner and a loser, a scammer and a sucker. He believes if you’re not ripping someone off, you’re getting ripped off.

    From an economist’s perspective, this is complete nonsense. Unless there are major information asymmetries or distortions of market power, and often even then, most transactions are generally to the mutual benefit of both parties. Otherwise no deals would ever get made.

    But Trump — the man who created a fake university, made stiffed contractors, hired the mob, and filed for bankruptcy six times — cannot believe his.
    So he goes out of his way to cherrypick how he sees the world, so that everything we do looks like either a ripoff or a steal.

    It’s not simply that Trump *doesn’t* think the Paris Climate Agreement, Iran nuclear deal, TPP, NAFTA, or luxury cars from Germany are a good deal for America. It’s that he *can’t* think that.
    It’s an alien concept to him that a deal other people want with us could also help us.

    To Trump’s mind, the mere fact other countries sought out these deals with us, and that their own economies benefit, is unassailable proof we got ripped off.
    He can’t see the evidence they helped us too. His mind will only cherry-pick potential ways it could be bad for us.

    The second anyone tells him “this is your end of the deal” he’ll rip it up. He believes only one party can have an end of the deal, and it shouldn’t be him.

    So folks, I hate to tell you this, but he’s only getting started.
    He will forego billions, maybe trillions, of dollars in world trade. He will forego bilateral security agreements. And if he ever gets something from another nation it will be by force.
    As I said: we’re screwed.

    And we’re not just screwed on foreign policy, but domestic. This explains his behavior over DACA, spiking two bipartisan deals even though they were what he asked for.
    He assumed if Democrats were willing to talk, his deal wasn’t ripping them off, ergo it would rip him off.

    That implies if Democrats win Congress, we are going to enter an all-out legislative standstill like we’ve never before seen.
    Our system is entirely reliant on compromise and compromise isn’t compatible with Trump’s beliefs. We will struggle to pass even basic reauthorizations.

    So yeah: our nightmare is not going to end until we get this pathological con man out of office.
    He is not just bad at being president, he has a defective way of seeing the world that is not compatible with being president.
    And we will pay for it.

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Compromise, as in corruption? In reality, it sounds like Mr. Shareblue Writer Chapman’s Mercedes is under threat.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      And the Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat scum who own and operate the Fake Democrat Party will use this concept to try scaring the citizens into voting for whatever piece of Fake Democrat Clintonite/Obamazoid Filth they rig into winning the 2020 primaries and nomination. And it won’t work any better in 2020 than it worked in 2016.

      So thanks to the Clintobamabot DLC Hamilton Project filth trash scum which owns the Fake Democrat Party, we will get a second term of Donald J. Trump. Thanks in advance, Fake Democrat Party.

      Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Not ” the” democrats. The FAKE democrats. Try to pay closer attention.

          And the reason Trump will walk on water in 2020 is that the Fake Democrats ( the Clintonite filth, the Obamazoid garbage, the Pelosi scum, etc.) will fill up the water with so much of their FAKE democrat sewage that they will make the water so thick that it will hold Trump up.

          That is how the FAKE democrat party will re-elect Trump in 2020.

          Sanders won’t be part of getting Trump re-elected. Sanders is not a FAKE democrat. Neither is Keith Ellison. Neither is Heather Teachout. Neither is Tulsi Gabbard. Neither are one or two other name-recognition Democrats.

          Try to grasp the difference and the distinction.

          Reply
  37. WheresOurTeddy

    UPDATE The Bezzle: “Youtubers with millions of followers are dropping out, citing stress and burnout from algorithm kremlinology” [Boing Boing].

    Literally the very next link: “ALPHABET AT AN ALL TIME HIGH!” crows Haygood

    Reply
  38. Monica Bee

    Lambert and other users, I highly recommend the add on ‘Fluff Busting Purity’. Goofy name, great extension, and it lets you organize your pages exactly how you would like. I get nothing from it, just a happy user!

    Reply
  39. JTFaraday

    “I hate the squishy, focus-grouped “working families,” very much opposed to working class. “Working families” also erases people without families, and people with unorthodox families, which today’s gig economy very much encourages. Sanders and Our Revolution shouldn’t adopt language like this, and should minimize the time they spend hanging out with people who use it.”

    I dislike “families” also (HRC: “You and your families, you and your families”– barf!!), but what it does do is open it up that people have needs throughout a life cycle, and that a President’s job is not just serving as plantation overseer in chief, which reductionism is a big problem in the US.

    And, again, while I dislike “families,” I do not wish to be reduced from human being and citizen into mere labor fodder either, so “working class” doesn’t do it for me, at all.

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