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Lambert Strether

Lambert Strether



Articles by Lambert Strether

2:00PM Water Cooler 5/22/2019

24 hours ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Sanders (18.8% 18.2) 0.6 down (38.3% 37.6), Warren blips up, as of May 22. Who knows, maybe it’s just noise….
* * *
2020

Biden (D)(1): “Biden finds unexpected success with low-dollar donors” [Associated Press]. “Biden is a relative newcomer, though he did have one major advantage: Obama’s email list.” • That’s the lead, buried nine paragraphs down.
Biden (D)(2): “Why Joe Biden is the Least Electable Democrat” [Ted Rall, Counterpunch]. “The party is ramming Biden the

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/21/2019

2 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Sanders (16.3% 18.8%) claws back 1.5% from Biden (39.8% 38.3%), others status quo, as of May 21.
* * *
Biden (D)(1): “The Weapons Industry Lobbyist Advising Joe Biden” [In These Times]. “Stuart Eizenstat, a long-time player in Democratic politics, is advising Joe Biden’s presidential campaign [on foreign policy]…. As a lawyer and lobbyist at the firm Covington & Burling, Eizenstat has represented fossil fuel companies Shell, BP and Noble Energy, as well as

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/20/2019

3 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Opinion: The global consequences of a China-U.S. cold war” [Nouriel Roubini, MarketWatch]. “The global consequences of a Sino-American cold war would be even more severe than those of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Whereas the Soviet Union was a declining power with a failing economic model, China will soon become the world’s largest economy, and will continue to grow from there.”
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Sanders (16.3% 18.8%) claws back 1.5% from Biden (39.8%

Read More »

Links 5/18/19

5 days ago

Buildings in Switzerland Have Cat Ladders to Help Felines Survey Their Kingdom Below My Modern Met
Air Pollution and Noncommunicable Diseases CHEST Journal. This is very nasty. The original is written in English, and well worth a read. Here is a summary in the Guardian.
Bankrupt Coal Company Funded Climate Change Denialism The Intercept
Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Caused by ‘Microbial Corrosion,’ Report Finds NBC Los Angeles
Funds survey the wreckage of a debt-fuelled energy bust FT
Ask Slashdot: Are the Big Players In Tech Even Competing With Each Other? Slashdot (DK).
Google to Refund Advertisers After Suit Over Fraud Scheme WSJ. “Google said it wasn’t in a position to return money that had already flowed from its buying tool to third-party online ad marketplaces where publishers were selling

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The Lost Ones: The Opportunities and Outcomes of White, Non-College-Educated Americans Born In The 1960s

5 days ago

Lambert here: Everything’s going according to plan!
Margherita Borella, Assistant Professor, University of Torino, Mariacristina De Nardi, Senior Scholar in the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; Professor, University College London; and CEPR and NBER, Fang Yang, Associate Professor, Louisiana State University, and Douglas Clement, Editor, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Originally published at VoxEU.
Behind the headline economic growth in the US over the last five decades lie clear patterns of widening wealth inequality. This column shows that white, less-educated Americans born in the 1960s are worse off than the generation born 20 years previously, based on wage changes, increased medical costs, and shorter life expectancy. This

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/17/2019

6 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, my workflow remains disrupted because Apple has not yet returned control to me of the tablet I putatively own. So I feel like I’m running a sack race instead of blogging. Again, if any of you want to send me Water Cooler-appropriate links, or short video clips to introduce me to the YouTube world, that would be helpful (and fun). Thank you! –lambert P.S. This week, when I’m not in production mode, I’ll see what I can do to make my expensive glass slab communicate with the outside world. Hopefully I won’t have to write another ticked-off post.
Trade
“Trump reaches deal with Canada, Mexico to immediately lift metals tariffs” [Politico]. “The U.S., Canada and Mexico have reached an agreement to remove President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel

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Links 5/17/19

6 days ago

‘Cow kiss challenge’: Austria tells people to shun charity dare Guardian (ChiGal).
Nearly a quarter of West Antarctic ice is now unstable Science Daily (DL). Original.
Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050 (interview) New York Magazine (OregonCharles). “49%” is an obvious case of spurious precision, oddly unquestioned by the interviewer, David Wallace-Wells. But it’s still interesting.
Boom in Dodgy Wall Street Deals Points to Market Trouble Ahead Bloomberg
How the Promise of a $120 Billion Uber I.P.O. Evaporated NYT
Silicon Valley’s ‘kingpin banker’ takes an Uber hit FT
Loose Lips and FX Tips: How Chatrooms Cost Banks $1.2 Billion Bloomberg
Facebook has struggled to hire talent since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to recruiters who

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Permaculture, the Health of the Soil, and Climate Change

7 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente
As long-time readers, at least, may know, I’m a fan of permaculture, and did a lot of gardening using permaculture principals. I started at the time of the Crash, working on the assumption that I should need to learn to grow my own food on my own patch. As my situation improved, I discovered that what I really wanted to do was sit and work in the midst of flowers, listening to birds and pollinators, but I designed that garden along permaculture principles, too (most importantly stacking functions). Now (hat tip reader Cal2) the release into the public doman of permaculture co-developer Bill Mollison‘s Permaculture: A Design Manual gives me the opportunity to return to this topic once more. Soil fans, listen up!
What, you may ask, is permaculture? Here is

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/16/2019

7 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient eeaders, my workflow remains disrupted because Apple has not yet returned control to me of the tablet I putatively own. So this is a little unbalanced. If any of you want to send me Water Cooler-appropriate links — especially from sources I don’t read, and also not already having appeared in the morning’s Links — that would be helpful (and fun). Thank you! –lambert
Trade
“China Promises Response If U.S. Slaps Tariffs on all Remaining Imports” [Bloomberg]. “China’s government promised to respond to a U.S. proposal to tariff the rest of the goods it buys from China, raising the stakes for the dispute between the world’s two largest economies. ‘The U.S. bullying and application of extreme pressure goes against multilateral trading rules,’ Chinese

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/15/2019

8 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, my workflow is still disrupted because Apple has not yet returned control to me of the tablet I putatively own. So this is a little disjointed. If any of you want to send me Water Cooler-appropriate links — especially from sources I don’t read, and also not already having appeared in the morning’s Links — that would be helpful (and fun). Thank you! –lambert
Trade
“China threatens to reduce Boeing orders, but analyst says options are limited” [MarketWatch]. “Chinese airlines currently have 231 Boeing commercial aircraft on order, including 192 737 Max planes, [Ken Herbert, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity] said. In addition, China has placed orders for at least two 777 aircraft and several 787s, he said. ‘It is also likely that hundreds of additional

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/14/2019

9 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, this Water Cooler is far too light, partly because (as I explained yesterday) my workflow went up in smoke, and partly because I’ve spent time tinkering with my tablets instead of writing and thinking. I hope to be back to something like normality tomorrow. –lambert
Technical Update: Thank you, readers, for all your suggestions (and sympathy). I think the approach that has the most merit is using a “synch” feature between a mailer’s app on the iPad, and the browser-based mail on the the laptop. Unfortunately, since I now must “verify” my identity with Apple, which can take as much as a week, I can’t install any of those apps for now. Sort of amazing I spend a thousand bucks on a machine but don’t really own it. I wonder how long it will

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Links 5/14/19

9 days ago

Deepest ever dive finds plastic bag at bottom of Mariana Trench CNN
Escalating Floods Putting Mississippi River’s Old River Control Structure at Risk Weather Underground
Los Angeles Fire Season Is Beginning Again. And It Will Never End. A bulletin from our climate future. New York Magazine
Effects Of Surgery On A Warming Planet: Can Anesthesia Go Green? NPR
Wild Pig Wars: Controversy Over Hunting, Trapping in Missouri AgWeb. I wonder if pigs rooting is good for the soil.
US court orders Bayer to pay $2bn in Roundup cancer case FT
Uber Shares Are Quickly Approaching ‘White Knuckle’ Territory Bloomberg (DL). Pardon my schadenfreude.
Do transportation network companies decrease or increase congestion? Science. Increase. That’s why we need robot cars.
IHOP And Ramadan: A Uniquely

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/13/2019

10 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Patient readers, I cannot do a Water Cooler today because of technical problems that you are to imagine me snarling as I describe. As you may know, my workflow has two steps: (1) a collection phase, where I ingest enormous amounts of material, mostly via the Twitter, on my iPad. (I use the iPad because I can do the work in bed, or on the bus, etc.) I then send the links from my iPad via email to my laptop, where they are sorted into the proper directories (e.g., Links or Water Cooler) via keywords in the subject line. In step (2) on my laptop, I go through my mail directories and aggregate the links into posts.
Periodically, iOS or Apple’s mailer — my account is Yahoo, but I use the iOS app — decides it doesn’t like me sending URLs to myself, and stops

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Josh Hawley (R-MO) and How the Social Media Economy Addicts Users

10 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
“What’s that?” Laney asked, indicating the man on stilts.
“A sect,” Arleigh McCrae said. “‘New Logic.’ They say the world will end when the combined weight of all the human nervous tissue on the planet reaches a specific figure. … [As a musician,] Rez was interested in them, apparently. He tried to arrange an audience with the founder.”
“And?”
“The founder declined. He said that Rez made his living through the manipulation of human nervous tissue, and that that made him untouchable.” — William Gibson, Idoru
I’ve been looking for a way to write about gaming — I’m so old I associate “gaming” with a family-friendly Vegas rebranding of “gambling” — and just the other day I finally found an opening. Oddly, a Republican Senator, Josh Hawley, provided it in the

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Links 5/13/19

10 days ago

Owner personality and the wellbeing of their cats share parallels with the parent-child relationship PLOS
Why the Melting of the Hindu Kush and Himalayan Glaciers Matters The Diplomat
Climate change: UN chief Guterres decries ‘fading’ global efforts Deutsche Welle
The climate change story is half true Our Finite World
Billions in dirty cash helped fuel Vancouver, B.C.’s housing boom McClatchy
Bad governance makes banks perilous investments FT
Teva and Other Generic Drugmakers Inflated Prices Up to 1,000%, State Prosecutors Say NYT. Good to know pharma’s dirty all the way through, not just the Brands.
Talking to the Law Student With a Novel Theory About Amazon’s Power New York Magazine. Interesting. If enormous global monopolies don’t have to show a profit, how do the locals ever compete?

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Four Industries Big Tech Has Ruined

10 days ago

Lambert here: The author forgot to include the Internet.
By Keith A. Spencer, a cultural critic, essayist, and editor at Salon.com. Cross-posted from Alternet.
The word “innovation” has become synonymous with Silicon Valley to the point of absurdity. Indeed, the tech industry’s entrepreneurs and “thoughtfluencers” throw it around as casually as a dodgeball in a middle-school P.E. class; what it really means is perpetually unclear and purposefully hazy. It is vague enough to be suitable in nearly any situation where a new product, service or “thing” is advertised as superior to the old — never mind if the so-called “old” thing has some distinct advantages, or if the new thing’s superiority is solely that it makes more money than the old thing, or if there are other old things that are

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Links 5/12/19

11 days ago

Dancing honeybees use democratic process when selecting a new home ScienceDaily. From 2010. Still germane!
Scientists Discover Nearly 200,000 Kinds of Ocean Viruses Quanta
A Flightless, Chicken-Sized Bird Keeps Re-Evolving Into Existence Because It DGAF Buzzfeed (DK). Original.
Uber’s IPO Joins Ranks of Wall Street Flops Bloomberg
1 big thing: Uber’s IPO got caught in perfect storm Axios
Uber’d Eschaton. Just spitballing here, but what if there’s so much capital sloshing about that Uber’s VCs backed it as a form of social engineering: To destroy public transportation, increase traffic, degrade employment law, pioneer an immiserated labor force of gigsters, and so forth. What’s not to like? Uber’s inability to ever turn a profit would have then been a secondary consideration, and Uber a

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Joe Biden Looks to Revive Obama’s Climate Plan. Scientists Say That’s Not Good Enough

11 days ago

By Alexander C. Kaufman, Senior Business Editor at The Huffington Post, and Chris D’Angeloa, Associate Editor at HuffPost Hawaii Cross-posted from Grist, as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
At a moment when mounting reports from the world’s top scientists indicate humanity is barrelling toward climate catastrophe and ecological collapse, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is preparing a climate policy that appears to put the United States back on the pre-Trump trajectory.
The former vice president’s proposal is anchored in resetting the clock to 2016 by rejoining the Paris climate accord and reinstating Obama-era regulations on power plant and vehicle emissions, according to a Reuters report published Friday. The policy is expected to maintain a role for fossil fuels, and

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/10/2019

13 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says China trade talks are done for the day” [CNBC]. “U.S. trade talks with China ended Friday as Liu He, the top Chinese trade negotiator, left the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. ‘They were constructive discussions between both parties, that’s all we’re going to say. Thank you,’ Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said after Liu’s departure. Both Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer shook hands with Liu as he left the office.” • Well, that’s better than “a full and frank exchange of views,” I suppose.
“Donald Trump says trade deal with China may still happen after Xi Jinping sent him a ‘beautiful letter’ [South China Morning Post]. But: “Though Trump seemed to connect the participation of Liu –

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/9/2019

14 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“A Mysterious Account in China Seems to Have an Inside Track on Trade Talks” [Bloomberg]. “For many China observers, one question has popped up since a pair of President Donald Trump’s tweets roiled Chinese stocks this week: Who or what is Taoran Notes? As most of China’s media fell into collective silence Monday following Trump’s threat to escalate the trade war, Taoran Notes, a once obscure account on Tencent Holdings’ WeChat platform, somehow escaped the intensified censorship. It became one of the few voices offering an opinion on China’s negotiation strategy. In a 1,500-character commentary published Monday, Taoran warned the U.S. not to fantasize about China making concessions that will damage its own interests. The comment was later

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/8/2019

15 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Yes, there will be a US-China trade deal” [Asia Times]. “Economic reformers in Beijing have long been frustrated with the state-owned enterprises, which constitute a formidable political constituency opposed to internal economic transformation. Trump may be doing Xi Jinping a favor by giving him a political rationale to cut subsidies to SOE’s, something which he wants to do in any case…. America’s intensive diplomatic efforts to exclude the Chinese firm from the global rollout of 5G failed only because Huawei has a better product, and even close American allies such as the UK fear being left behind. The lesson that Beijing will have taken from the Huawei affair is that China’s prestige, power and economic growth depend on its most innovative

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Links 5/8/19

15 days ago

The Meditation on Waterloo Bridge at XR Campfire Convention (MR: “Video that gives a taste of the scene on Waterloo Bridge just before mass arrests on Easter Saturday, with coments by a few supporters. XR seem able to generate a remarkably nonviolent, even gentle, standing of ground. In the context of the relatively nonviolent UK policing, of course”).
Where Our New World Begins Harpers. I actually bought the print version to read this.
Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates (PDF) IMF Working Paper
Will climate change destroy democracy? The Week
The Useful Discomfort of Critical Climate Social Science Social Science Research Council. Jargon-heavy but useful examples.
Lyft reports slowing growth and heavy loss in quarter FT
As Uber gears up for

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/7/2019

16 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Trade
“Donald Trump is a business ‘killer’ who ‘never plays by the rules’, say Chinese exporters after tariff threat” [South China Morning Post]. “US President Donald Trump is a business ‘killer’ who ‘never plays by the rules’, according to China’s manufacturers who have been left reeling by the news that tariffs will be increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on US$200 billion of Chinese imports into the United States. Trump issued the threat to increase the tariffs in a tweet on Sunday, changes which were confirmed US trade representative Robert Lighthizer some 24 hours later, with the new rates set to become effective at 12.01am on Friday morning US time.”
“China confirms Liu will join trade talks this week as US says tariffs will rise on Friday”

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2:00PM Water Cooler Special: Blowback on Russiagate for 2020

17 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Those of you who followed the 2016 campaign may remember a pattern where Trump would create a debacle, the polls would drop, a cry of “This time we’ve got him!” would arise, whereupon Trump would rebound and the polls would rise, sine wave-style fashion (see charts from my post here). And as election day, 2016, neared, the sine wave was heading upward…. It’s possible that, following the release of the Mueller report, Trump is about to repeat the same pattern, on a much larger scale. Polls down, 2016-2018; polls up 2019-2020. Perhaps.
I got to thinking of this when I read the following mildly titled article by Jack Goldsmith: “Thoughts on Barr and the Mueller Report.” Here’s Goldsmith’s biography, in its entirety:
Jack Goldsmith is Henry L. Shattuck

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/6/2019

17 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Politics
“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51
“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune
2020

“2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination” [RealClearPolitics] (RCP average of five polls). Biden up 20, everybody else down.
“*” = New candidate.
* * *
Festival of Biden:
Biden (D)(1): “Biden Thinks Trump Is the Problem, Not All Republicans. Other Democrats Disagree” [New York Times]. “Mr. Biden’s singular focus on the president as the source of the nation’s ills, while extending an olive branch to Republicans, has exposed a significant fault line in the Democratic primary.
Biden (D)(2): If you’re a “moderate,” raising money from “your friends across

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Links 5/4/19

19 days ago

How vanishing lizards in Madagascar led to a troubling discovery about deforestation and climate change Yale Climate Connection
How a Lone Norwegian Trader Shook the World’s Financial System NYT. Interesting article systemic issues with “central counterparties” (see Auerback today), despite the finger-pointing clickbait headline. Also a “carbon emissions permits” debacle.
If This Is a Tech Bubble in Stocks, It’s the Expansionary Phase Bloomberg
Why Tesla is taking a different approach to self-driving cars FT
The smart diaper is coming. Who actually wants it? Vox
Could a popular food ingredient raise the risk for diabetes and obesity? Harvard School of Public Health
Brexit

Brexit tears through UK’s political landscape Politico
UK government’s Brexit talks with Labour to resume after

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The Next US Recession Is Likely to Be Around the Corner

19 days ago

Lambert here: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” –Satchel Paige
By Franck Portier, Professor, University College London and CEPR Research Fellow. Originally published at VoxEU.
Business economists argue that the length of an expansion is a good indicator of when a recession will hit. Using both parametric and non-parametric measures, this column finds strong support for the theory from post-WWII data on the US economy. The findings suggest there is good reason to expect a US recession in the next two years.
This summer, the current US expansion, which started in June 2009, is likely to break the historical post-WWII record of 120 months long, which is currently held by the March 1991-March 2001 expansion. It is already longer than the post-WWII average of 58 months.

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Lessons about White Privilege, Social Liberal Backlash, and Trump 2.0

20 days ago

Alert reader DK tossed a PDF of the following new study over the transom: Erin Cooley, Jazmin L. Brown-Iannuzzi, Ryan F. Lei, and William Cipolli, III, “Complex Intersections of Race and Class: Among Social Liberals, Learning About White Privilege Reduces Sympathy, Increases Blame, and Decreases External Attributions for White People Struggling With Poverty, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. The abstract:
White privilege lessons are sometimes used to increase awareness of racism. However, little research has investigated the consequences of these lessons. Across 2 studies (N = 1,189), we hypothesized that White privilege lessons may both highlight structural privilege based on race, and simultaneously decrease sympathy for other challenges some White people endure (e.g.,

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2:00PM Water Cooler 5/3/2019

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Readers, I must finish up a second post, one that demands some care due to its subject matter. So today’s Water Cooler will be an open thread. –lambert UPDATE I thought the first post was pretty good, too. Maybe if I’d titled it “Why Information Technologists Shouldn’t Be Let Near Political Systems, Because They’re Pig-Ignorant About How Politics Really Works,” but honestly, I process so much yelling these days that perhaps my headlines are a little dry.
Here is a conversation starter from Stoller:

Here’s Biden endorsing slashing Social Security. If you think this makes him a Republican or a conservative, you’re wrong. It means you’re out of step with the Democratic Party, a plurality of whom wants this guy as their leader. https://t.co/P0Oslhm0yg
— Matt

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Some Problems with Treating Democracies as “Information Systems,” Starting with Voting and Ending with Money

20 days ago

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
The well-regarded (and by me, too) public-interest technologist Bruce Schneier has written an interesting piece, “Defending Democracies Against Information Attacks“, part of a larger project, “that models democracy itself as an information system and explains how democracies are vulnerable to certain forms of information attacks that autocracies naturally resist.” This fits naturally into today’s moral panic about defending “our democracy” at the cyber level from adversaries, in particular Russia[1]. But that’s not my topic today. Rather, I want look briefly at the ballot, at institutional power, and then at whether Schneier’s “model,” as he describes it in the linked piece, can provide any more than partial insight into “democracy” as practiced today in

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