2:00PM Water Cooler 11/16/2018

By Lambert Strether of .

Readers, sorry for the “late” post. My habit is to set my clock a little ahead, as a lash and a spur to actually press the submit button by deadline, but the Mac’s latest OS seems to get huffy if my time is set “incorrectly,” and so I accidentally reset the clock to eliminate my little margin. I think I should be able to set the date and time to whatever I damn well please! Whose computer is this? –lambert

Politics

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

2020

“Poll: Biden and Sanders lead 2020 Dem field, followed by Beto O’Rourke” []. “About 26 percent of Democrats want Biden to be the Democratic nominee in two years, while 19 percent want Sanders. [Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas)] came in third in the list of preferences at 8 percent… The Morning Consult/Politico poll surveyed 733 Democratic voters from Nov. 7 to 9 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.”

Laying the groundwork:

The Walton family of Walmart is the wealthiest family in America, worth $180 billion. Middle class taxpayers should not have to subsidize Walmart’s horrendously low wages to the tune of at least $6.2 billion every year.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders)

Oddly, or not, neither Biden nor O’Rourke or any other Democrats doing anything remotely similar.

2018

UPDATE “For First Act in Power, Democrats Consider Making Their Own Agenda Impossible to Pass” []. “This week, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi unveiled a list of new procedural rules that her caucus intends to implement when the next Congress is seated. Most of these measures are unobjectionable ‘good government’ reforms. But one of them would create a new — and all-but-insurmountable — obstacle to the passage of many of the policies that the Democratic Party claims to support. The rule, proposed by Pelosi and Massachusetts representative Richard Neal, would ‘require a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80 percent of taxpayers.’….All this would be a bit less problematic if the Democratic Party had overcome its allergy to deficit spending (and/or accepted Modern Monetary Theory as its personal truth). But it hasn’t: In addition to forbidding tax increases on the bottom 80 percent, Pelosi has vowed to honor the ‘pay as you go’ rule, which requires the House to fully finance any and all new government spending.” • I really blame Sanders for nailing us inside Pelosi’s austerity box; he had the platform, the advisors, and the framing ability to promote the MMT paradigm, and failed to do so. Just imagine what the Republicans will do, when they regain power, with a supermajority requirement for taxes!

“Why is this Brooks Brothers riot alumnus attending Broward’s recount?” []. I can’t imagine…. For those who came in late: “Quinn is most famous for allegedly leading the raucous upheaval outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections— later dubbed the “Brooks Brothers Riot” — that some ultimately credited for the abrupt termination of recount efforts in the county.”

“Stacey Abrams to seek new Georgia election in unprecedented legal challenge” []. “Stacey Abrams is preparing to ask for a new election to be called in her contested Georgia governor’s race, under a state law that allows losing candidates to challenge election results based on ‘misconduct, fraud or irregularities … sufficient to change or place in doubt the results.’… In order for a challenge to be successful, Abrams’ team would need to show that there were enough irregularities that at least 18,000 voters were improperly barred from voting or had their ballots rejected…. In the years leading up to the election, Kemp, as Georgia’s secretary of state, purged more than 550,000 people from the state’s rolls. Investigative journalist Greg Palast has found that more than 340,000 of them were wrongly removed with no notice.”

2018 Post Mortems

“Blue-state Republicans embraced the 2017 tax cuts. It may have cost them.” []. “[California’s Mimi Walters, Steve Knight of California, Dan Donovan of New York, and Leonard Lance, Seth Grossman and Jay Webber of New Jersey] are all [Republicans] from states that stood to lose the most when the state and local tax deduction – and, to a lesser extent, the mortgage interest deduction – was capped. And while it’s hard to unpack exactly what led voters in each of those districts to pick someone new, it’s also hard to escape the idea that a deeply unpopular, partisan tax bill that opponents spun as “economic civil war,” in the words of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, couldn’t have played at least some role.”

“Lessons of 2018: Mid-sized cities bigger problem for Democrats than rural areas” []. “While many commentators have focused on declining Democratic performance among rural voters, attrition in Iowa’s mid-size cities is a more pressing problem for the party’s candidates at all levels. This post focuses on the vote for governor in seventeen “micropolitan” counties. Iowa has 40 “nonmetropolitan regional trade centers–counties containing cities of from 5,000 to just under 30,000. Eroding support in mid-size working-class communities is affecting Democrats across the country, not only in Iowa. I haven’t seen any conclusive research on why that trend took hold.” • At a guess, because their Main Streets are threatened or dying. Bleeding Heartland is always worth a read. Kudos to them for spotting this.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Tupperware Party” []. “Organizations like She Should Run, Emerge America, and EMILY’s List declared themselves to be at the vanguard of ensuring that a new cohort of female candidates win public office at all levels of government. Other groups popped up, too, all intent on promoting women candidates for the 2018 cycle. The Pink Wave!… After filling out a flurry of questionnaires I got replies from two groups offering to interview me for their candidate training programs…. the interviewers cut straight to what I later learned is called the phone test: ‘Take out your cell phone, scroll through it, and figure out who to call first about your campaign,’ I am told. I naively mentioned the heads of community organizations who had urged me to seek office, business leaders of my acquaintance, a handful of left activists, and of course my future constituency, my neighbors. Wrong. That first phone call is meant to raise a seemingly arbitrary threshold of donor funds—$25,000.” • Wait, what? This doesn’t seem very different from garden variety Democrat corruption….

“When Tribalism First Entered American Politics” [] (review of The Red and the Blue, by Steve Kornacki). “The early Clinton era is presented as a parade of confrontations — over welfare, balanced budgets, health care — that, for a time, emboldened Gingrich’s showdown wing of Republicanism, but also vaulted Clinton to a re-election that created an early version of today’s blue America. Then came the probes and impeachment. By the time George W. Bush was elected in 2000, Kornacki writes, the country’s split was set — ‘these divisions were geographic, demographic and cultural.’… In 2018, “The Red and the Blue” implicitly leaves us with another one: When, exactly, was the pre-Trump political calm for which so many now yearn?”

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, October 2018: “Hurricane-related contraction in utility output and contraction in the usually strong mining component offset a respectable rise in manufacturing, all making for a slightly lower-than-expected… increase in total industrial production []. “The gain for manufacturing led by business equipment and construction supplies is the good news in today’s report and points to a healthy conclusion for what has been a positive 2018 factory sector.” And: “The increase in industrial production was below the consensus forecast, however the previous months were revised up. Capacity utilization was above consensus” []. And but: “There was significant upward revision to last month’s data. The best way to view this is the 3 month rolling averages which marginally declined. Industrial production remains in a long term upward trend” []. “Manufacturing employment rate of growth is accelerating year-over-year.”

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, November 2018: “This morning’s industrial production report for October showed favorable gains for manufacturing as does Kansas City’s manufacturing index” []. “The nation’s factory sector looks to keep up its solid pace through year end.”

Quarterly Services Report, Q3 2018(Advance): “Information sector revenue for the third quarter of 2018 rose” [].

Banks: “Wells Fargo Cuts 1,000 Jobs Across the U.S. on Mortgage Woes” []. “The cuts are part of Wells Fargo’s effort “to focus our business on evolving customer preferences, the accelerating adoption of digital self-service capabilities, and operational excellence and efficiency,” Goyda said.” • Oh great. Fire all the tellers…

Real Estate: “NYC Real Estate Brokers & Landlords Are Salivating Over Amazon Invasion” []. “StreetEasy searches for apartments for sale in Long Island City soared roughly 300% this past week, according to a release from the website. And Ben Landy, the CEO of Lease Buyout Advisors, a company that, in his words, ‘helps rent stabilized tenants get the max amount of money from their buyout,’ said that landlords in the area now have even more incentive to try and pay their rent-regulated tenants to vacate: ‘It’s gonna be an amazing time for buyouts.'”

Shipping: “Simply looking at this month versus last month – this was a great month. The three month rolling averages all improved. And we are in the middle of a trade war?” [].

The Bezzle: “Uber driver attempting to deliver petition to company’s headquarters gets tackled to the ground” []. “An Uber driver who said he was trying to bring a petition to the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Friday was tackled to the ground by a security guard, and suffered shoulder and back injuries that required treatment at an emergency room.” • The level of class we’ve come to expect from Uber.

Tech: “Mark Zuckerberg ‘not able’ to attend unprecedented international joint hearing in London” []. “Facebook has declined an invitation to CEO Mark Zuckerberg from the relevant committees of five parliaments for an international joint hearing on disinformation and ‘fake news’, saying he is not able to be in London.” • The level of class we’ve come to expect from Facebook.

Tech: “A Facebook patent would use your family photos to target ads” []. “Facebook has filed a patent that would make it easier to target whole families with ads by analyzing the photos they post. The application, filed on May 10th and published today, covers an algorithm that would identify elements of photographs — like faces or other details— and cross-reference them with other data to build a profile of an entire household.” • Facebook pollutes everything it touches, doesn’t it?

Tech: “Try This: Just Log Out of Facebook” []. “Short of nuking your entire account, logging out of Facebook is surprisingly effective at demonstrating just how much you can survive without this supposedly vital product. Maybe this is obvious to you. And yes, I’m still using Instagram, and most of the globe is on WhatsApp, but the core service of Facebook, its lifeblood, is now so worthless that, at an increasing rate, I forget it exists.”

Tech: “Researchers Created Fake ‘Master’ Fingerprints to Unlock Smartphones” []. “In most cases, spoofing biometric IDs requires making a fake face or finger vein pattern that matches an existing individual. In a paper posted to arXiv earlier this month, however, researchers from New York University and the University of Michigan detailed how they trained a machine learning algorithm to generate fake fingerprints that can serve as a match for a “large number” of real fingerprints stored in databases.” • And you can’t change your fingerprint the way you can change a password. It’s almost like biometric IDs had some other purpose than security…

Gaia

“At risk of extinction” []. “All caribou in Canada are now at some risk of extinction, with more than half the [groups of caribou] meeting the scientific criteria for endangered and the others either threatened or special concern. Since 2004, only one group, Peary caribou, showed improvement, going from endangered to threatened. This as a result of some evidence of population recovery as warmer summers boosted forage growth after severe population die offs from weather events during the 1990s. Reasons for caribou’s poor prospects vary, but the common thread is the glacial pace of any actions to address well-identified threats or common concerns. For boreal and mountain caribou, it is all about destruction of habitats by oil and gas, logging and other industries leading to heightened levels of predation (which is further exacerbated by recreational activities in some places). And in many ranges across these four [ranges], resource development has been allowed to continue, largely unabated. Rather than setting limits on habitat disturbance within imperilled caribou ranges, governments continue to rely on largely ineffectual project-by-project impact mitigation.” • Petroleum projects should be fought where encountered.

“The con at the heart of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline” []. “Dominion will point you to the voluminous work done as part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s certification process for natural gas projects, but what they won’t tell you is the agency’s review of actual public need is stunningly cursory…. “We find that the contracts entered into by those shippers are the best evidence that additional gas will be needed in the markets that the ACP project intends to serve,” [FERC] wrote in its certificate authorizing the project last year.” Who are those shippers? They’re almost all subsidiaries of the energy companies developing the project, which comes with a 14 percent rate of return they’ll try to recoup from their ratepayers…. ‘The fact that five of the six shippers on the ACP project are affiliated with the project’s sponsors does not require the commission to look behind the precedent agreements to evaluate project need,’ the certificate says.” • The permitting process is almost always full of wildly stupid statements like this. Entertaining, at the very least.

“High-profile ocean warming paper to get a correction” []. “Scientists behind a major study on ocean warming this month are acknowledging errors in their calculations and say conclusions are not as certain as first reported…. The study suggested greenhouse gas emissions may need to be cut much faster than anticipated to meet climate targets, because of more aggressive ocean warming calculated in a new model. The team examined changes in atmospheric ocean and carbon dioxide levels to assess how the ocean’s heat content has changed over time. Keeling said the team incorrectly assessed oxygen measurements. Ocean warming likely is still greater than IPCC estimates, but the range of probability is more in line with previous studies.”

“Rare microbes lead scientists to discover new branch on the tree of life” [ (DK)]. . “Two species of the microscopic organisms, called hemimastigotes, were found in dirt collected on a whim during a hike in Nova Scotia by Dalhousie University graduate student Yana Eglit. A genetic analysis shows they’re more different from other organisms than animals and fungi (which are in different kingdoms) are from each other, representing a completely new part of the tree of life.”

“Wollemi Pine, Dinosaur Tree” []. “In 1994, an Australian park employee was exploring Wollemi National Park, a rugged area in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Hiking in a remote canyon, David Noble saw a tree that he did not recognize. Little did he know that his mystery tree would soon become an international sensation and a find of enormous scientific interest. He had found a living copse of Wollemia nobilis, the Wollemi Pine… Unlike most conifers, Wollemi Pines tend to grow in clonal shoots, like aspens. That means the existing trees are almost genetically identical, and have remained so for a very long time. Dinosaurs might not just have eaten Wollemi trees; they may have grazed on something genetically linked to these exact trees.”

Water

“Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint – where water is undrinkable” []. “Just two hours away [from Flint[, in the tiny town of Evart, creeks lined by wildflowers run with clear water. The town is so small, the fairground, McDonald’s, high school and church are all within a block. But in a town of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer. This is where the beverage giant Nestlé pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles that are sold all over the midwest for around $1. To use this natural resource, Nestlé pays $200 per year…. On Friday, activists from Flint will join activists from Evart, where Nestlé pumps water. They will be joined by groups from Detroit, where people are having their water shut off, from north of the border, where the social justice group Council of Canadians is based, and from indigenous communities around the Great Lakes. Together, they want to promote a ‘water summit’ on ‘human rights and water sovereignty.”” • $200 does seem a bit low.

“The Water Atlas” (Scribd) []. From the introduction: “In this beautifully illustrated work, Pietro Laureano shares with us the fruitsof more than a quarter of a century of careful observation of traditional know-ledge and techniques applied to urban settlements and landscape resourcesmanagement in all regions of the world. The book introduces us to very so-phisticated, thousand-year-old, capacities developed by local communities andcivilizations around the world, amongst which water harvesting techniques, re-cycling of organic wastes and used waters for soil fertility conservation or, inmore general terms, the ecosystemic approach to town planning, are anythingbut new! The volume is also the most convincing illustration of the fact that,whereas modern technological solutions rely on separation and specializationand for most of the time imply the mobilization of external resources, tradi-tional knowledge, which by its very nature applies the principle of integrationand uses internal renewable inputs, has proved over time to be effective in thedaily struggle of civilizations against adverse environments and, more recent-ly, against desertification.”

Our Famously Free Press

“In cities across America, this morning’s newspaper told you there was an election yesterday — but nothing about it” []. “Back when I was a kid, the best source of information on a big slate of elections was the next day’s newspaper, which would be stuffed full of results, election-site vox pops, color from watch parties, and photos of politicians both ecstatic and deflated. But as our Ken Doctor reported last week, America’s largest newspaper chain, Gannett, decided to do things differently this year. Rather than push back printing deadlines to accommodate the evening’s tallies, Gannett papers were to report…no results. “Go to our website” was the mantra. ‘It’s updated more than once a day, ya know.'”

Police State Watch

It’s not just the Kardashians who are privatizing public services. Thread:

In Houston, the well-off buy extra cops, who in turn make arrests and ship people to the county jail. What’s wrong with this picture?

— Franklin Bynum 🌹 (@franklinbynum)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“As Silent Sam deadline looms, UNC officials quietly debate a difficult decision” []. (Silent Sam is .) “The university spent $390,000 on Silent Sam security in the 2017-18 fiscal year.” • $390,000 is what? 20 adjuncts? 5 full professors? What are the priorities here?

“DeRay Mckesson’s Misguided Case for Hope” []. “Above all else, whiteness is a relation to the means of production – the mechanisms, land, capital and resources to produce goods – and a more distant proximity to state violence. As intellectual Theodore W. Allen put it, whiteness is a “ruling class social control formation,” not just a “privilege.” Why are these terms all missing from his text?… To assert that racism is rooted in whiteness is to completely misunderstand both the beginning and current reasons of racism. As Mckesson previously states, whiteness is situated within a power dynamic. Under capitalism, what is the actual ‘power’ of that dynamic? Capital. Racism is not ‘rooted in whiteness.’ It is rooted in exploitation and domination, which are predicated on capital. As historian Walter Rodney put it, ‘it was economics that determined that Europe should invest in Africa and control the continent’s raw materials and labor. It was racism which confirmed the decision that the form of control should be direct colonial rule.'”

“Download Digitized Copies of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book, the Pre-Civil Rights Guide to Traveling Safely in the U.S. (1936-66)” []. “[E]ven under the best possible conditions, road trips have their arduous stretches and even their dangers, a fact understood by nobody better than by the black travelers of the Green Book era. Published between 1936 and 1967, the guide officially known as The Negro Motorist Green Book informed such travelers of where in America (and later other countries as well) they could have a meal, stay the night, and get their car repaired without prejudice.”

Class Warfare

“Oxford’s 2018 word of the year is ‘toxic'” []. “Oxford reports a 45% spike in the number of times users have looked up the word, and reports that after “chemical,” the word that most frequently follows it is “masculinity.” The term toxic masculinity refers to the epidemic of male entitlement, alienation, and violence that underlies the #MeToo movement’s tidal wave of trauma, as well as alarmingly high suicide rates for middle-aged men. Number six on Oxford’s list of toxic subjects is “relationship,” and indeed, even this website has published stories about toxic relationship habits.”

News of the Wired

“Learning Chess at 40” []. “… And then my daughter began beating me…. There are, I learned, two forms of intelligence: ‘fluid’ and ‘crystallized.’ As first theorized by the psychologist Raymond Cattel, fluid intelligence is, basically, being able to think on one’s feet, to solve new problems. Crystallized intelligence is what a person already knows—wisdom, memories, metacognition. Even if I was only learning chess for the first time, I had a lifetime of play behind me. Fluid intelligence is generally seen to favor the young, with the crystallized variety rewarded by age (though there are many exceptions)…. Not only has she since beaten me many times, but there was the look in her eyes as I checkmated her a second time.”

“Your Brain Is Wired to Suck the Joy Out of Good News” []. “Together with Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, Sheldon developed the hedonic adaptation prevention (HAP) model, a strategy for slowing down the deterioration of happiness that follows the boost from exciting life events. The key to holding on to happiness, he says, is twofold: appreciation and variety…. Appreciation — which the pair described in a 2012 paper as “the psychological opposite of adaptation” — means “intentionally savoring the state of affairs, or intentionally cultivating gratitude,” explains Sheldon, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri. [And] ‘[The more varied [your experiences] are, the more memorable they are, and the more they factor into well-being judgments,’ Sheldon says…. If appreciation and variety don’t work for you, Jordi Quoidbach, a psychology professor at the University Pompeu Fabra in Spain has identified another strategy in his research: occasional abstinence from something that makes you happy.”

“The Hidden Life of Modal Verbs” []. “Declaratives without modals (or other linguistic hedges such as “I think,” “possibly,” etc.) have this straightforward objective power, even if the content is untrue….. The register of populist politics is definitive, repetitive, memorable messaging. Your typical politician or civil servant, however, may use longer, obscurer constructions with hedging to avoid being challenged on certain claims. A good example is the elegantly manipulative politician Frances Urquhart’s classic line from House of Cards, “you might very well think that, I couldn’t possibly comment,” chock full of modal verbs with a side helping of plausible deniability. We’re used to thinking that someone using this kind of language is probably untrustworthy, with something to hide…. [R]esearchers have noted that scientific and academic writing often contains quite a lot of linguistic hedging, such as the use of modal verbs, in the very environment that seems to call for powerful conviction and clarity.”

Nancy goes meta:

Nancy by Olivia Jaimes for November 16, 2018

— Nancy (@SluggoIsLit)

* * *

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 (EM):

EM writes: “Mullein or bunny’s ear, some locals call it rabbit tobacco or .”

* * *

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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.

142 comments

  1. Maurice Hebert

    Of possible interest is this article & thread about paying more to deal with the “scarcity” of qualified workers. I think LS and the commentariat touch on this topic from time to time. It’s a struggle!

    Reply
  2. Fred

    As an ex-water well user, I paid nothing as well. It was just in the last 10 years they formed a water district in response to Nestle wanting to setup up a bottling plant. It took a lot of explaining to those who were afraid of regulations and taxes. And there are a lot of those types of folks in Texas.

    Reply
    1. jonhoops

      I suggest Lambert needs to go into Mac OS Preferences and uncheck the update time automatically (turn off network time).

      Reply
        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          There is a work-around, which most pre-crapification people have access to. Mine is a wind-up wrist watch*. The human who powers it is unreliable in most respects but can counted upon to to do the necessary regularly in a twice-daily routine although once a day is adequate.

          Pip-Pip

          * I’m going retro but keeping Puppy Linux.

          Reply
        2. jonhoops

          This Clock app might be helpful. Allows you to offset the time and other fancy functions. Looks pretty slick as well. Only $7

          Reply
    2. neo-realist

      I’ve been a little concerned about MacOS Mohave. I’ve been getting popups on the Macbook Pro from time to time asking me if I wanted to download it and I’ve put it off. The last time I switched to a new OS (El Capitan), I did so because some of my software updates would not take unless I updated/changed the OS. Hopefully I won’t be confronted with the same issue.

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Doesn’t matter if it is a Mac or a Windoze computer, their idea is the same. They want to own it and want you to merely rent it – forever. A lifetime of fees in fact. And they will want to control how you use it as it is really “theirs”. They will control the horizontal. They will control the vertical…and (they) will control all that you see and hear.

      Reply
      1. flora

        They will control the horizontal. They will control the vertical…
        “They”, in this context, used to be IBM and GE and Honeywell.

        Remember this ad?

        Apple and MS are no longer young rebels promising liberation from big metal computing. Instea , they’ve decided to control the computer space they helped expand, just as IBM once did. They’re the big brother on the screen now.

        Fortunately, there are always new comers to break the stranglehold.

        Reply
            1. Kurt Sperry

              As long as there are viable, fully open-source Linux OSs out there freely available, it will be difficult to completely fence in the perimeter of the OS market and make it an exclusively rent-seeking space. Moving to an open-source OS for my computing is something I kind of dread because of the inevitable inconveniece it entails, but also something I’m coming around to believe in as a near necessity. My big box home PC dual boots to either Win10 or Mint, so I’ve kind of made at least a tentative step in that direction.

              Reply
              1. Huey

                Good on you.

                I don’t regret it. I’m still in the shallow end in that I only use Ubuntu, but it has been more than sufficient for my needs, and I have pushed it just to see how much craziness I could do if I’ve wanted.

                I hope you become more comfortable with the switch. While most modern Linux distros don’t require any/much ‘command-line’ usage, a good resource if you do even wanna just know more about it is the book “The Linux Command Line” and the website:

                Reply
        1. polecat

          The digital garote just moves further up the escalator of ‘progress’ ….

          I believe a Carrington Event is in order .. so humans (some) have a chance to go down a different path. Otherwise all the modern absurdity that gets continually pushed upon society will be the undoing of it !

          Reply
          1. gepay

            Imagine what a Carrington event would do to nuclear reactors. you might wish for something else. How many reactors in the US? France Sweden England? Multiply Fukushima by a thousand.

            Reply
      2. ook

        Licensing terms and conditions, user rights, could use some better regulations, for sure, but let’s not forget that 30 years ago when you bought an OS, that was it until the next upgrade. These days, if some new problem or security risk is discovered, Microsoft and Apple are expected to fix it and delivery the fix worldwide, tout de suite.
        The company I work for distinguishes between the permanent license and the support license, and this kind of works for our sophisticated user base. But that wouldn’t work for something like Windows/Apple where the sophistication of users ranges from zero on up.
        So the basic annual charge model, I understand, but we need to reframe so that government starts to ensure that user rights are not trampled.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        This drive toward fees forever and effective “rental” of “your own” computer may become expensive and onerous so as to drive more people to accept only getting to spend some time on collectively owned computers as at computer centers and public libraries and such.

        If “whole new computer companies” arise and insist on selling computers that only appeal to digitally absorbed amateur computerologists and programmingologists, they will not sell to anyone beyond a fanbase of a few million people.

        Reply
    4. cm

      No, this is all about authentication, which requires synchronized time. If Kerberos fails, there’s a good chance https will fail (and other things like active directory).

      Kerberos has strict time requirements, which means the clocks of the involved hosts must be synchronized within configured limits. The tickets have a time availability period and if the host clock is not synchronized with the Kerberos server clock, the authentication will fail. The default configuration per MIT requires that clock times be no more than five minutes apart. In practice Network Time Protocol daemons are usually used to keep the host clocks synchronized. Note that some servers (Microsoft’s implementation being one of them) may return a KRB_AP_ERR_SKEW result containing the encrypted server time in case both clocks have an offset greater than the configured maximum value. In that case, the client could retry by calculating the time using the provided server time to find the offset.

      Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        It also used to be (probably not, or less so today) possible to do minor mischief like fooling time-limited shareware by resetting your computer time. There may be potential for greater mishchief as well, it wouldn’t surprise me.

        Reply
  3. Carolinian

    Re ocean warming and sea level rise–PBS has been doing a great weekly series about how major coastal cities are planning to deal with higher sea levels. For New York the plan is to build a 20 foot seawall around lower Manhattan. For London they are building a drainage tunnel under the Thames to carry flood and storm surge water out to sea.

    Locally it comes on Wednesday nights at 10 and it’s undoubtedly available through their usual online sources. The show is called Sinking Cities.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Glad they’re gonna save the financial centers. Let them eat money and gnaw on gold!

      Currently living at 30 feet above sea level, with the shoreline within a mile, I’m fitting my house with pontoons and procuring more fishing gear.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        One discussion during the London show was about actually building houses or buildings that float. There is already a hotel in London that does this and on our Mississippi river there are floating casinos due to a quirk in gambling laws.

        And the reason the seawall will just cover lower Manhattan is that much of that land is man made and reclaimed from the Hudson or the harbor. Presumably the rest of the island is higher elevation.

        To me this show is encouraging rather than a downer. AGW is a very bad thing but humans are very good at coping. Rather than throwing up their hands some people are making plans.

        Reply
        1. rd

          Lower Manhattan is Wall Street and The Battery.

          The people in the Rockaways will need to learn to swim though. Now if they started a stock exchange there and learned how to drink rose……

          Reply
        2. Synoia

          Good luck with that. It does require always calm water in a sheltered anchorage.

          Personally I favor land 300ft above current sea level, with a sewage plant at a similar elevation.

          Please refer t the 2 laws of plumbing:

          1. S.. goes downhill
          2. The boss is always correct.

          It has been observed that 1 is a subset of 2.

          Reply
          1. a different chris

            >1. S.. goes downhill

            Ah, that is so yesterday. Rising sea levels can and likely will carry it right back up to your front door.

            Reply
        3. Donna

          Of course, as of now New York cannot even keep up with subway repairs. Can’t imagine having to rely on them for a seawall too.

          Reply
      1. rd

        New Orleans is one upriver flood away from being irrelevant as a port. If the Old river Control Structure fails and the Atchafalaya becomes the new Mississippi, then New Orleans will effectively be surrounded by an oxbow lake.

        Reply
  4. dcrane

    The comment about “The Red and the Blue” states made me look up the question of when the colors of the two main parties switched, since I remember that the Dems used to be Red. Turns out the history is not quite so clear.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Doesn’t much matter, as they’re both turned into an awful swirl of Purple, ringed Yellow … as in the bruising kind !

      When are the mopes gonna start swingin back ??

      Reply
    2. Jeff W

      It’s just an accident of history. The networks ABC and CBS had used the red for Republican, blue for Democratic —it might have been, as ABC’s David Brinkley said on-air on election night in 1984, “R(ed) for Reagan” or, as Archie Tse, senior graphics editor for the NY Times, said, in that Smithsonian piece, both Republican and red begin with R: NBC, which had used the reverse color scheme for its traditional connotations (blue for conservative, red for liberal/left) joined ABC and CBS in 1996 simply to be uniform with the other two networks. The delayed outcome of the 2000 election had TV viewers looking at red and blue states for a longer time and the associations stuck. (Personally, I detest the color scheme and will avoid mentioning it, if possible, because it’s out-of-step with the colors that the rest of the world associates with the political spectrum and so, on the face of it, makes no sense.)

      Reply
      1. allan

        Working from home, at last report.
        And unlike Congress, SCOTUS doesn’t seem to require its members be present for votes.
        Yet.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          I thought she was gonna move to Christchurch or some such, after contracting acute onset of TDS, once the orange meteor landed in the white haus …

          Reply
          1. a different chris

            We have got to seriously consider age *and* terms-of-service limits on our betters. The 25/75 rule I would call it.

            Reply
            1. polecat

              I would agree, as life-time SC appointments leave a greater chance of brain plaques to develope in old age … making for faulty decision-making, if not outright dementia.

              Reply
  5. Eelok

    I would love to walk away from Facebook, but am unable to for one reason in particular. It is the online gathering place for a local hobby community in which I am heavily involved. Discussions, working groups, events, etc. are all coordinated through Facebook. Some of us have expressed an interest in moving elsewhere, but there is nothing else that has the ubiquity and reach of Facebook. Not only has our online community become significantly developed embedded in Facebook and its tools (frustrating though they can be), but it’s a critical part of what lets us reach new audiences and expand our membership.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      When I logged off Facebook back on March 5, I walked away from several groups like that.

      And you know what happened? Nothing. I have yet to hear from anyone I knew from said groups.

      From their silence, I have take this lesson: My involvement wasn’t that important after all.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        Slim, that’s what I’ve noticed. Everyone who really gives a rats for you will you in all the other ways that aren’t Facebook.

        Seems like you find out who your REAL friends are by getting the f off Facebook.

        Reply
    2. In the Land of Farmers

      The harm that Facebook creates is never really expressed.

      Is your hobby and how popular it is more important than supporting the harmful and monopolistic properties of Facebook? Your answer is yes, your hobby is more important.

      The very thing that you are profiting from is the thing you hate. So is this more about Facebook’s greed or yours? “I mean I do not like that Facebook is a and but my hobby!”

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Is it the hobby which is important? Or is it the social and emotional connectedness which co-involvement-with-others in the hobby brings? In a loneliness world, that would be very important.

        If that is so, then a critical mass-load of hobbyists within the group would all have to defect from Facebook together at the same time and onto the same other platform. That way they could keep providing eachother the psycho-survival benefits which people need. And they could do it on the new Faceless Bookless platform.

        And if they were a big enough bunch of at-the-same-time defectors, other hobbyists still on the Facebook Group might miss them enough to visit them at the new NoFace NoBook platform. They might even get the entire Facebook Group Hobby Membership to defect to the New Platform.

        Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      There’s an alternative called MeWe. You might want to investigate it, and see if you can migrate your hobby group to it.

      I’m on it because some of my political friends are, but I’m not much of a social media person, so I don’t quite see the point.

      Reply
  6. Lee

    “DeRay Mckesson’s Misguided Case for Hope” [Hampton Institute]. “Above all else, whiteness….

    Hey! I’m not white, I’m Irish American! And I ain’t no senator’s son.

    This focus on the lumping together of historically, often antagonistically, differentiated peoples on the basis of melanin and other superficial physical traits is deeply troubling, particularly as it attempts to mobilize ever larger groups of people based on the false consciousness of racial solidarity and antagonism. With single words that we use as the overly broad categories we call “race” we wipe out diversity based on class, culture, geography, as well as familial and individual experience. We also vitiate the solidarity of being simply human. Even if whiteness is an invidious invention of some white people, should doubling down on this trend be considered in any way as central to progressivism?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is a hugely complicated discussion — readers who are adept, please correct me — but it seems the best metaphor for “whiteness” is not skin color (ascriptive identity) but “the default setting”* (every setting “zeroed out,” as it were). Hence the phenomenon of groups becoming “white” over time, even though their (average) skin color has not changed. All the terminology is a mess. On paragraph two, I agree with you. It’s almost like there’s an industry capitalizing on the “divide and conquer” antagonisms elites are always engineering…. Not that the antagonisms do not have real effects, even if in themselves not real. See the Nancy cartoon.

      NOTE * “… I am a blank slate on which people project….” –Obama

      Reply
      1. Lee

        It’s almost like there’s an industry capitalizing on the “divide and conquer” antagonisms elites are always engineering….

        There is indeed such an industry: it’s the political duopoly as is generally discussed here and was describe for what I assume to be a wider audience in a recent interview aired on Freakonomics. The description of the problem struck me as quite apt. Alas, as I understood it, the remedy suggested is moar bipartisany centrism.

        OCTOBER 31, 2018
        356. America’s Hidden Duopoly
        We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

        Reply
      2. clarky90

        “White” is the “New Kulak”!

        “Ruthless war on the kulaks! Death to them! Hatred and contempt for the parties which defend them-the Right Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks, and today’s Left Socialist-Revolutionaries! The workers must crush the revolts of the kulaks with an iron hand, the kulaks who are forming an alliance with the foreign capitalists against the working people of their own country.”

        — Lenin, “Comrade Workers, Forward To The Last, Decisive Fight!” August 1918,

        Reply
          1. Hameloose Cannon

            Yup. That Lenin fella sure had his opinions. Not sure though, whether those ideas were coming from a good place. Some people just got to have it their way, I guess.

            Reply
        1. Procopius

          Hey, thanks for that. I was in high school during the McCarthy Years, and all knowledge of Marx-Leninism was suppressed. We weren’t even allowed to know what “Stalin’s crimes” actually were. Murder and enslavement were surely included somehow, but exactly what he was supposed to have done was not permitted. From time to time I have tried to read Lenin, but just can’t stick with it. Same with Milton Friedman.

          Reply
      3. Lee

        That whiteness as a trait that confers social and economic advantages is the default setting here but not everywhere is suggestive. As Sartre wrote, accounting for group conflicts (I cannot recall in which work) “human groupings encounter one another in fields of scarcity.” This is most likely a universal and certainly not exclusively human trait. It has been selected for by evolution in many species. Contrarily, there is a strong tendency in humans to meld together in larger groups made up in many cases by former enemies. Optimistically, and worth noting, is that conquest and subordination between contending groups, or even shared equality is more frequent than is genocide. Appeals to universal rights and shared concrete material benefits among the citizenry of at least particular nation states seems a politically more viable option than whatever the hell the various identitarian factions are up to. “Vote for me because I look like you.” Really?

        Reply
      4. Geof

        In The Many-Headed Hydra, Linnebaugh and Rediker (pp. 126-7) describe how 1660s slave owners invented privileges for white servants to secure their control. For example, whites were given enough to eat, while blacks were deliberately starved so that they would steal from the whites, alienating the two groups.

        To stabilize their regime, the rulers of Barbados separated the servants, slaves, and religious radicals from each other. . . . As servants left the island or perished, the big planters replaced them with African slaves . . . The upper class also used informal policy to create division, instigating criminality and taking comfort as workers quarelled among themselves. Morgan Godwyn explained this as the politics of “Tush, they can shift”:

        “An effect of their scant allowance of Food to the Slaves [is] the many Robberies and Thefts committed by these starved People upon the poorer English. Of which, I should affirm their owners to be the occasion, by thus starving of them . . . this is said to be the true meaning of that customary reply, Tush, they can shift, to the Stewards and Overseers requests for a supplie of the Negro’s want of Provision.

        The division between servant and slave was codified in the comprehensive slave and servant code of 1661, which became the model for similar codes in Jamaica, South Carolina, Antigua, and St. Christopher. The planters legally and socially differentiated slave from servant, defining the former as absolute private property and offering the latter new protections aganist violence and exploitation. The effort to recompose the class by giving servants and slaves different material positions within the plantation system continued as planters transformed the remaining servants into a labor elite, or artisans, overseers, and members of the militia, who, bearing arms, wolud be used to put down slave revolts. The policy of “Tush, they can shift” was institutionalized as a permanent structural characteristic of American plantation society.

        I find it incredible that progressives promote the idea of white privilege. Privileges were trinkets given to white people to ensure dominance over them and to prevent solidarity with black slaves. To be “privileged” in this sense is not to possess unearned advantages: it is to be conned and exploited. The term also erases the default assumption that to be “priveleged” is – or was – to be wealthy and socially connected.

        Reply
        1. clarky90

          Kapo (concentration camp)

          “A kapo or prisoner functionary (German: Funktionshäftling) was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp who was assigned by the SS guards to supervise forced labor or carry out administrative tasks. Also called “prisoner self-administration”, the prisoner functionary system minimized costs by allowing camps to function with fewer SS personnel.

          The system was designed to turn victim against victim, as the prisoner functionaries were pitted against their fellow prisoners in order to maintain the favor of their SS overseers. If they were derelict, they would be returned to the status of ordinary prisoners and be subject to other kapos…”

          Reply
          1. clarky90

            The Camps essentially ran themselves. The SS called it “prisoner self-government” (Häftlings-Selbstverwaltung).

            “The prisoner functionaries sometimes numbered as high as 10% of the inmates. The Nazis were able to keep the number of paid staff who had direct with the prisoners very low in comparison to normal prisons today. Without the functionary prisoners, the SS camp administrations would not have been able to keep the day-to-day operations of the camps running smoothly. The kapos often did this work for extra food, cigarettes, alcohol or other privileges.

            “German historian Karin Orth wrote that there was hardly a measure so perfidious as the SS attempt to delegate the implementation of terror and violence to the victims themselves….”

            Reply
        2. scarn

          “White privilege” when used by liberals is a thing that exists exclusive from class war, or sometimes as a thing that exists next to class war, and recently as a thing that exists instead of class war. Their usage is bad. Linebaugh and Rediker (god it’s such a fine book!) show the history of “whiteness” as a development of relations between capital and labor on what was then the edge of the developing world-system of capitalism. Out here on the frontiers our capitalist-slavelords were the smart innovators of their class. If “white privilege” is properly understood and historically embedded beyond the panoply of imagos from the civil rights movement and Obama rallies, it is defined as a relation between capital and subsets of capitalists and workers who belong to very well defined socially understood groups. Every American knows who is white and who is not 99.9% of the time. And inherent in that is a material relation that is rooted in these historical processes and which produces material privileges on average for white people at the perceived expense of non-white people (I say perceived because the thumb on the scale is always capital). That does not mean that “white privilege” isn’t real. It’s all too real, and it’s a material wealth and wage difference violently enforced by capital and the adherents of racist ideology. It isn’t separate from capitalism, it’s a method of capitalist class-discipline. The problem with liberal use of white privilege is not that ‘there are poor white people too’ or ‘I’m Irish not white (lol)’. It’s that telling “white people” that they need to stop exploiting “black people” is pointing our guns at the wrong target. The right target is the imperial ruling class and their willing servants. Understanding that racism and it’s material disparities are a weapon they use against us in the class war is a key method of radicalizing people, IMHO.

          tldr: black panther party was right

          Reply
            1. scarn

              ‘tldr’ = ‘too long, didn’t read’. It’s a post script summarizing longform internet comment so scanning eyes can decide if comment / thread is topical. Not sure of genesis but usage was popularized on .

              Reply
      5. In the Land of Farmers

        Most people want power, not equality. People do not care about “race” or “color”, they care about power. We are all fighting in a (capitalist) system that encourages and visibly rewards power, and “there can be only one”. It is easy to divide a group of people who are seeking power because it will be filled with individuals seeking power.

        Without race there can be no economic power struggle based on race, so race is emphasized by both parties to be used as a means to gain economic power. Let’s say we get rid of all the races and have one sort of tan person. do you think the economic issues will end?

        People who love having power over others, democrat or republican, will not want to dismantle the system that provides them the means of power. The solution is not gaining power, but rather dismantling the systems that allow power.

        For a film explanation of this see “Snowpiercer”.

        Reply
      6. makedoanmend

        Being white’ish myself (very mottled and not at all fair skinned), I have often applied the term of ‘whiteness’ to some select Brits – as in, “how very white of you” when they deign to use such language as “…Protestant sand Catholics deserve each other…” in Ireland without acknowledging the role of power-privilege of the coloniser (English) in choosing to foment certain relationships to their own advantage and then coming back at later dates in feigned innocence to criticize the unrest they knowingly created. Likewise, the term applies when they “whitewash” their direct involvement in events, claiming that they arrive to conflicts as simply disinterested people who need to control the situation for the natives, and then justify their own violence as official whilst those who resist it as unofficial.

        However, in the US when I lived in New York to suggest that colour doesn’t play a part in the daily interactions of life and hence the large dynamics is less than genuine imo whatever one’s skin tone.

        I don’t know if I fully agree with the analysis either that this discussion is based upon. There does seem, in the adult Homo sapiens, a need to distinguish self-group from other groups based on rather superficial features such as skin colour or maybe even costume. Children probably notice differences among themselves but are much smarter knowing that their objective of play would often be disrupted if they start making an issue of such distinguishing characteristics. It seems to take adults to teach them to make such distinctions. This lesson seems to follow when one child, the owner of a commodity, decides to exclude others from playing with the object and gets official approval from an adult in a school setting.

        It cannot be denied, however, that capital and race has been tangled in the US. As capital expanded to include more people into the capital markets, the definition of whiteness expanded. Yet under neo-liberal capital expansion that states clearly that everything must become a capital commodity the issue of colour becomes even more complex. If a person of colour becomes rich, they automatically join a club that can abuse workers at will. They achieve special status. Whether they are treated differently by their wealthy cohort members I cannot say as I am not a member thereof. Does Davos man include people of colour?

        Like so many issues, this is not a chicken and egg question. It is a matter of material and not so material issues that constantly play off each other and evolve.

        What cannot be denied is that capital, by its very nature, must exclude some in order to define itself as an means of ownership. Capital’s ultimate power is the privilege of exclusion and conveys the power of control to exclude. Race just happens to be one of the cruder mechanisms whilst capital is far more civilized.

        Reply
      7. Steve H.

        I = Identity, Individual, Id. (I AM = “draw a distinction”)

        U = (I) = I-NOT

        W = (U) = ((I))

        W = We, White, Within-group. (Not distinct from I.)

        : Thread has aspects of division of working class.

        “ refers to the social networks — whether friendships or religious congregations or neighborhood associations — that he says are key indicators of civic well-being. When social capital is high, says Putnam, communities are better places to live. Neighborhoods are safer; people are healthier; and more citizens vote.”

        Here is a modern method of division: taking within-groups with high social capital, and reducing them to between-group relations:

        “And so you tend to have this phenomenon where there will be, let’s say, a justice movement of some kind; it’s initially successful, but then the same data is instead optimized to find whoever is irritated by that social justice movement. Those irritated people are introduced to each other and put into this amplifying cycle where they’re more and more agitated until they become horrible.”

        (W) = ((U)) = U(1) + (U(2) + … U(n)

        Reply
      8. Steve H.

        > “the default setting”* (every setting “zeroed out,” as it were).

        I =

        “In linear algebra, the identity matrix, or sometimes ambiguously called a unit matrix, of size n is the n × n square matrix with ones on the main diagonal and zeros elsewhere.”

        Reply
      9. NotTimothyGeithner

        My grandmother knew relatives who had been Indians before living as white men. So it’s place and time. The Hemmings descendents “passed” and lived as whites in anonymity. Religion and living in the towns were probably the dividing point given the long term presence of French in the area.

        The preponderance of new faces and languages is a factor. There were jokes about white “liberals” who stopped calling their black friend now that they had voted for Obama. One non local is an oddity that can be invited into a private home. The U.S. is large, and being able to “pass” matters. We are of course living in a post World War II call up society, so I do wonder about how important that (the Depression too) was to the expansion of whiteness. Wasn’t the admiral of the WW2 Enterprise Native American? There won’t be many calling his status into question. Patton was proud of his descent from 49ers. Who they were before doesn’t seem to matter.

        I should point out the current whiners about “white privilege” sure don’t seem too concerned with making sure non whites can have things like Healthcare or aren’t brutalized by the police.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps a better word for the psycho-mental culturemotional core of “Whiteness” might be “Gringoism”. It is applied on the outside, but it seeps in deep.

      Seen that way, is White a Race? Or is White a Way? A Way of Being?

      What were the People of Whiteness before they learned they were White? What was their ancestors’s Way of Being before they were raised up into the White Way of Being?

      And if the poor People of Whiteness . . . the People of White Trashness . . . decide to defect and turn away from the Whiteness Way, what New Way might they evolve or even deliberately craft for themselves? Would they create a narrower special purpose Group Identy? Or would they seek to go back to the Culure Identy Way of their particular ancestors?

      And if they did that, what sort of politics might they preach and practice?

      Reply
      1. Lee

        The White Panther Party represented an interesting defection from the Whiteness Way. In San Francisco they occupied some large vacant properties with the Sheriff Hongisto’s blessing because their programs such as the food conspiracy that provided low cost quality food were considered a greater asset to the community than the absentee slumlords.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          The WPP had a pretty strong node in Ann Arbor, MI when I lived there, they, with the RPP*, even occupied a big physical house as their base. John Sinclair had real juice back then.

          *Rainbow People’s Party

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Or in a less romantic vein . . . . a vein so earthy its muddy . . . .

            TAR United. ( Trash of All Races United).

            Reply
  7. NoOneInParticular

    Re “Lessons of 2018: Mid-sized cities bigger problem for Democrats than rural areas”.

    The significance of big-medium-small cities and even small towns became clear to me when I saw in the NYT in the summer. We all seem to be trained to think blue=coastal cities red=everywhere else but zoom in deeply on this map and almost any population center is blue and any rural area is red. It’s the old city-country divide and I have no idea how far that split goes back in human history. It’s one of many lessons the D’s need to learn, I suppose. And they won’t as long as big corporate money guides them in favor of the Wal-Mart-Azon mentality.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Or…its easier to organize in cities than in rural areas, and given Democrats aren’t operating in rural areas as described in the updated versions of “Whats the Matter with Kansas”, maybe the problem is just the ROI.

      Instead of worrying about innate character, lets focus on practical problems. Rural America has plenty of non-voters who are not part of the system. Its much harder to canvass and reach them in a direct way. Of course, the whole idea of the 50 state strategy was to build out. The Democrats were on an upward swing in in 2006 and 2008. With urban areas locked down, moving out would be easier as more resources and the starts of new lists became available.

      What the little people need to learn is to understand why a person like Obama shut down the 50 state strategy after he had what he wanted. The Democrats know. They just want to win enough to keep the donor money coming in.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And to keep a new generation of All-50-Staters from ever re-emerging from within the Party. And they will hammer down the tall poppy which dares to stand up, every time. Until their hammer is taken away from them by a rising tide of 50-Stater wannabes who can use that hammer to force the current leadership to “pick their own teeth up off the street with their own broken fingers”.

        Reply
    2. bob mcmanus

      I have been expecting the “Big Sort” to accelerate after Trump and the article does connect the economic circumstances to population loss and aging demographics.

      Somewhere else on the Internets today I read that Susan Collins is the last New England Republican in Congress and that the entire Left Coast has only one Republican district. New Jersey is almost 100% Blue. This terrifies me, as does the triumphalism of Democrats in those states.

      The prediction is around that in 2040? 11 states will have 70 percent of US population. The 39 Abandoned States will have the votes and Senators to call the Constitutional Convention and make the Koch agenda irrevocable. Unless there is a Civil War, that these liberals would lose.

      Reply
      1. rd

        Extrapolation probably won’t work. People are already starting to move from the blue states to red states simply due to housing and living costs:

        The tax cut may accelerate that as the expensive state tax costs just went up because they can’t be deducted from federal income taxes. so the “in your face” move by the red states to whack the blue state voters state taxes may backfire by turning their states purple or blue.

        Reply
    3. flora

      One important word was left out of that otherwise great article; probably because its audience needs no reminder and/or bringing it up directly would require more column space than available.

      Nafta. Those small manufacturing plants that went to Mexico and elsewhere were a vital part of mid-sized cities economics, and of small towns, and of family farms. Nafta started hollowing out former Dem strongholds 10 years before the financial crisis of 2008. Nafta is going to be an albatross around the Dem party’s neck for a long time to come, imo.

      Reply
  8. clarky90

    Re; “The key to holding on to happiness….”

    Children laugh for “no reason”! They fall over, and laugh. A cat comes up to them and they laugh. They are startled, and laugh…..

    Grown-ups need a “reason” to laugh. So, comedy, striving, gambling, hard work…. We are at the mercy of external events/fortune that we have little control over. Even when “things go well”, we know that an inevitable catastrophe is waiting around the corner. “Please sit down (name), I have something that I need to tell you……”

    I belong to a Laughter Yoga group. We get together and laugh for 45 minutes, once a week. It is laughing along with (like you do with friends), not laughing at.

    “I do not laugh because I am happy. I am happy because I laugh”.

    Dr. Madan Kataria (the founder of Laughter Yoga)
    HO-HO, HA-HA-HA

    Reply
    1. In the Land of Farmers

      Most experiences children have are new, and so probably trippy to them. Plus they are stupid. It’s easy to make stupid people laugh.

      Laughing when there is nothing to laugh at is delusion in my opinion. Even people I knew with schizophrenia could at least tell me what they were laughing at.

      You say you have little control over events/fortunes. Laughing at nothing does not change that. Getting together with others to change that does.

      Reply
  9. JerryDenim

    “And yes, I’m still using Instagram, and most of the globe is on WhatsApp, but the core service of Facebook, its lifeblood, is now so worthless that, at an increasing rate, I forget it exists.”

    Yup, that sums it up pretty well for me. I haven’t logged on or posted anything in a year or more on Facebook. I’ll ocassionally use WhatsApp for international calling/texting, and I definitely do a quick Instagram scroll daily for pretty escapist pictures of nice happy things I’m interested in, but Facebook? No desire. The bad headlines undoubtedly tainted my feelings towards the site, but the fact that all the content seems to be either 1.) Ads, ( 2.) Politics, particularly the really mindless and partisan kind, or ( 3.) crap generated by a few boring people that I was never close to who feel the need to compulsively overshare tedious minutiae from their depressing lives, has made it very easy for me to stop using Facebook without ever having made a conscious decision to do so. It’s really way past it’s sell-by date and I am shocked that Mark Zuckerberg is still a billionaire. Friendster, MySpace, now why can’t Facebook please just die already?

    Reply
    1. mle detroit

      Well, everyone knows about FaceBorg, and everyone thinks they know how to use it. That makes it uniquely useful for ordinary folks to organize or join a group. See above: Eelok November 16, 2018 at 2:57 pm. FB was vital to the SUCCESSFUL! effort to pass Michigan’s anti-gerrymandering and easier voting proposals last week.

      The group-organizing facility is the one thing I will miss about FB, but the news about using facial recognition to gather data on my (under-age) relatives to sell to advertisers who will sell to us all … that’s an app too far. I’m gone.

      Reply
  10. rd

    One issue out there is the permanent or semi-permanent destruction of workers in our current society.

    On the construction sites I have been on over the past couple of years, it was difficult to keep workers once hired because a significant percentage of them would fail random drug screens even if they made it past the initial drug screen. The wagon would come on site, test a third of the workers, a third of them would fail, and your work force was depleted by 10% by lunchtime. so over a period of several months over half your work force turned over just due to that.

    On one site recently, several of the workers (union, paid over $20/hr and more when overtime) were quite open about their past addiction issues, many of whom also had past jail time. On my next visit, one of them wasn’t at the site because he had been arrested on drug charges the previous weekend.

    My understanding is that the manufacturing and trucking industries have similar issues.

    Reply
    1. Tom Doak

      That’s decimation – eliminating 10% of the workers to make a point to the others. The Romans figured the 10% was the max they could sacrifice without a big loss of productivity [in Army terms].

      I saw the same thing you are describing on a construction project twenty years ago, in the South. I couldn’t figure out why they would keep kneecapping their own labor force, apart from the fact that it was obviously based in racism — white supervisors and owners, black labor.

      Reply
  11. Martin Finnucane

    Re: Georgia governor’s race:

    Investigative journalist Greg Palast has found that more than 340,000 of [registered voters] were wrongly removed with no notice.

    If this is even close to correct, then certainly Secretary of State Kemp stole the election, outright. Just amazing. Having a weak stomach and strong gag reflex, I don’t really follow the news much. Have the important DNC types spent any time or effort on backing Stacey? Or are they too distracted worrying about whether Pelosi gets restored to her rightful place on the throne?

    Reply
      1. Kurt Sperry

        Abrams, sadly, has now conceded but has said she will press ahead with challenging the process. Not sure how that all adds up.

        Reply
    1. Whoa Molly!

      Palast does good work. Worth sending him a sheckel or two. Why the D’s are silent, passive, permissive on this issue confounds me.

      Reply
  12. diptherio

    Some dirty socialists have a plan for revolution:

    In our current historical moment, we believe that our core task is to build the foundation and infrastructure of what will someday be a massive working class movement that is capable of overthrowing capitalism through mass collective direct action alongside a network of dual power institutions that can fill the power vacuum with decentralized direct democracy in workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, people’s assemblies, etc.

    One of many core components of this long term left project is the construction of socialist or social justice worker cooperatives as well as the solidarity economy as a whole.
    […]
    Worker co-ops are not the end all be all solution or main thing we need to do. The work of building worker cooperatives and the solidarity economy in general (and really, all of our work) will be and is filled with contradictions to which there are no solutions except to navigate through democracy. We cannot actually realize a fully socialist or solidarity economy while capitalism exists with strength. The state and capital will work hard to destroy anything we build as it comes to power, as it will (and always has) with unions or other social movements as well. Our task then is to build these institutions for their benefits nonetheless and prepare our bases of people to fight for what we have built when the attacks come….we cannot “build cooperatives” our way out of capitalism and oppression…

    And yet, we think there is massive potential and need. We will here outline some core aspects of what worker cooperatives can do to achieve revolution as well as some notes of general benefit.

    Reply
  13. rd

    Re: Chess after 40.

    World class chess is a sport – the games take several hours of intense concentration. The brain requires a lot of blood and oxygen, so you need to be in good condition able to sustain mental activity for a long time, similar to a marathon runner compared to a sprinter. So it is natural to peak in 20s and early 30s and slowly decline over time.

    Modern chess requires both a good body of knowledge as well as the ability to process information effectively. so experience and repetition against good competition is needed to improve. Modern chess programs means it is easier to get this practice alone instead of requiring lots of tournaments.

    I have thought it would be interesting to test computers against humans by limiting the number of operations that a computer could do to analyze a move, so that its AI program would be forced to rapidly select lines of analysis similar to a person as opposed to brute force computation which is where they have been heading.

    Reply
  14. rd

    Re: Brain sucks joy out of good news

    One of the tools that I have found very useful in processing any sort of information to try to reduce the hard wired heuristic impacts is Edward de Bono’s Six Think Hats:

    It can actually help replace the joy in good news.

    Reply
  15. BoyDownTheLane

    In re: ” Guide to Traveling Safely in the U.S.”:

    Given the confrontational nature of partisan politics, with protestors hounding people in restaurants, or the risk of getting shot while playing baseball or protecting others from shooters, or even the issue of living in places where DEW weapons are used to bomb out homes and start fires, one wonders if there shouldn’t be alt-right and alt-left editions publshed today

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Travel warnings (from various governments around the world):

      “Not safe to go to America.”

      It applies to migrants, Assange, Russian oligarchs, etc.

      Reply
      1. rd

        I was traveling recently and the security app my company puts on our phones alerted me to be cautious about traveling to a number of US cities due to planned protests. We are becoming Afghanistan.

        Reply
    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      one wonders if there shouldn’t be alt-right and alt-left editions published today

      At least a good topic for some maybe-instructive satire. David Wong at Cracked has done some essays like that approach, as I think of it. It really is hard to get Americans to direct their ire at their masters. ‘Forget the Trilateral Commission for a minute, what about your greedy git of a boss?”

      Reply
  16. Polar Donkey

    Online downloading the Green Travel books is great. My friend teaches high school students in Mississippi. Recently, did some readings on civil rights movement. Most black kids have little knowledge of what it was like for their grand and great-grandparents. Black co-workers told my friend older generations never talk about Jim Crow. This gives a window in time.

    Reply
  17. diptherio

    Chess world championship is all tied up, but boy I really thought Fabi was going to find a mate there in game 5. Nice little king walk there…shame it didn’t turn into anything.

    Reply
  18. IowanX

    NTG, I know you are right, but as we’ve seen, if we had a REAL Democratic Party, we can win more than people on the coasts believe. I’d look at IA-4 & WV-3 (I sent my $25 to J.D. Sholten, and to Richard Ojeda). In IA-4, King won by a 22.6 margin in 2016; in 2018, the margin of victory was 3.4 percent. In WV-3, the 2016 margin was 43.9(!). Ojeda cut that to 12.9 percent. So we moved the 4th CD in Iowa by 19 percent, and WV-3 by 31 percent. Strong candidates, not taking corporate money, with a strong, localized message. Didn’t win, but actually reinforced the need for a 50 State Strategy.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Because there isn’t a 50 state strategy, every election cycle starts from scratch, and panicked politicians in the closing days always shift to the extreme right in a desperate bid killing any positive work, partially because there is no process for recruiting and supporting sacrificial lambs which is probably a necessary.

      Don’t worry plenty of cash goes to the courtiers behind brilliant ad campaigns such as “Hillary is your Abuela. “

      Reply
  19. BoyDownTheLane

    I sent the short video to Lambert who asked why I didn’t post it here, so here’s the whole package for everyone to enjoy. The graphic is an oblique reference to the movie (and short stroy that generated the movie) “Arrival” which is a treatise on time and communications that is worth your time.

    Alan Watts on time
    [1:18]

    [49:21]

    Finally, I hope everyone finds this rhapsody as funny as I did:

    Reply
    1. In the Land of Farmers

      Yes, So I cannot help to laugh when researchers try to find out what time “is”? That would be like them trying to study what is “Harry Potter”.

      I love how Watts distinguishes rhythm from time. Being a musician I never got along with drummers who kept good time, only ones with good rhythm.

      Reply
  20. c_heale

    Can I ask a question? Is the link to the “The Water Atlas” (Scribd) [Pietro Laureano], an infringement of copyright? My impression is that Scribd does not do sufficient to prevent the uploading of copyrighted materials (but is instead making a profit out of them).

    I think it would be better to link to the author’s website.

    I am a disappointed Cfdtrade has allowed a link to Scribd, especially one for a book first published in 2001 (therefore it cannot be out of copyright).

    If the author has given his permission for his work to be distributed freely, then I apologize for bringing this up.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . I’m not disappointed that Cfdtrade linked to a Scribd point-of-location for this article. Why would I be not-disappointed? Because the appearance of the pretty-poor quality link to Scribd motivated you-our-fellow-reader to offer a better quality link to the source itself.

      If the link to Scribd for this article had never been offered, we would never know of its existence at all. And no one would have been triggered to offer a better-quality link.

      Reply
  21. Synoia

    By the time George W. Bush was elected in 2000, Kornacki writes, the country’s split was set — ‘these divisions were geographic, demographic and cultural.’… In 2018, “The Red and the Blue” implicitly leaves us with another one…

    Ummm – I remember the fuss and bustle and tribalism surrounding the Nixon – Kennedy election…..not that I understood it, but there was much partisan discussion in front of us Children.

    Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Wollemi Pine, Dinosaur Tree”

    Caused quite a sensation here when they announced that one had been found. The feelings must have been similar when they found the Coelacanth fish back in the 1930s. I think that the worry was that some billionaire collector would want to get it for their collection and have tried to cannibalize it. Or have some idiot vandal come along and destroy it because that is just what they do. Same thing really. Growing hundreds of this tree was genius as not only did it protect this tree but it also spiked the guns who would want this tree for themselves.

    Reply
  23. voteforno6

    So, Nancy Pelosi wants to bring back PAYGO, and implement a supermajority for tax increases. Boy, there’s that inspirational message that pushed the Democrats back into the majority in the House. If she actually goes through with that, she’ll have the distinction of presiding over the party winning and losing the majority…twice. I can’t wait to see her trying to explain why PAYGO must be waived to pay for whatever war the U.S. gets into next, as well as bailing out the big banks when the next financial crisis hits. But hey, that’s all fine, because at least the Koch brothers and the editorial board of the Washington Post will have her back.

    Reply
  24. Jen

    UPDATE “For First Act in Power, Democrats Consider Making Their Own Agenda Impossible to Pass”

    From the article:
    “Taken together, these two requirements could make Medicare for All impossible to pass out of the House.”

    Mission accomplished!

    Reply
    1. John k

      It was always mission impossible while reps have the senate and pres.
      However, it just means fund it through military cuts, also not possible now… but populace gets to begin thinking it’s mil spending that keeps us from having nice things. So proposals to fund infra and health thru mil cuts should start appearing, especially with more progressives in congress. Then, in 2020, some will run on that platform.
      This may result in the compromise of fund both, and let the deficit rise.

      Reply
  25. Huey

    It seriously upsets me that, while alternatives to Whatsapp exist, it remains impossible to switch to them without convincing the vast majority of your s to come, which if you’re like me and somehow require Whatsapp for work is impossible. Not that I ever got more than 4 friends to even try Signal, and they only used it to talk to me. I tried not communicating anything sensitive over Whatsapp but that risks one coming across too often as a heel.

    Other times you want to say ‘wait this is really interesting, can you just hold that thought until I see you in a few days? I just worry Zuck et al may be datamining this very convo, you see.’ Maybe I should start telling everyone I only communicate via letters/VOIP.

    Reply
  26. Kurt Sperry

    In Italian or French, constructions like “I think that…” or “It’s possible that…” or even “It is necessary that…” quite correctly must then leave the indicative and overtly announce their speculative nature by proceeding into the subjunctive mood. This clear signal being given is a good BS antidote. Anglophones tend to think of the subjunctive mood as precious or archaic, but it has survived because it serves a real purpose and need in language. Once you think in one of those languages (a necessary prerequisite for anything approaching fluency), you do this even in your head with your own internal thoughts. It even makes it harder to fool yourself!

    Reply
  27. Victoria

    Re: Gothamist on the NYC landlords who are “salivating” over the arrival of Amazon in their neighborhood–did I miss something? Does Amazon actually pay high wages to anyone?

    Reply
  28. Tomonthebeach

    RE Wells Fargo snippet: ” Oh great. Fire all the tellers…”

    Lambert, they might as well let them go. Last year, the courts finally let me dissolve my late mom’s trust. I had to keep a WF checking account open to pay any late bills for 24 months. When the day came to close that account, I had to wait 25 minutes to see an assistant manager (you know like at McDonalds – the oldest male on the shift?). While sitting there stewing, I watched as 3 tellers waited on 3 customers. I have been to wakes with more action. I took my cashiers check over to my credit union and stood in line 5 minutes to get at one of the 4 tellers. Why anybody banks with WF is as mysterious as why people watch FoxNews.

    Reply

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