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June 25, 2017 11:59 PM UTC

Monday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”

–Charles Darwin


81 thoughts on “Monday Open Thread

        1. Have you heard the word?

          Bernie and his wife are under FBI investigation for bank fraud and influence peddling.

          Trump is not under FBI investigation.

  1. Those terrible, bloodthirsty libruls! Always trying to foment violence against our upstanding, God-fearing, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-their mouths, peace-loving, rational, well balanced and NEVER hypocritical or fraudulent republicans! FOR SHAME, libruls! For shame!

  2. A quote from Charles Darwin?

    That's going to go right over the creationist-addled brains of our 3 right wing shills. Remember, God, threw those dinosaur bones around to tempt the wicked and the weak into believing in stuff like science.

  3. Interesting quote from Darwin today.  Here is a forward-looking opinion piece that will cause our shills to become violently ill, and probably at least shock the rest of us.  As David Thielen has discussed many times on this blog in years past, A.I. will cause massive shifts in our economy, displacing entire industrial sectors and their workers.   Retraining for new careers simply won't be enough.  And the concentration of wealth in just a few hands will cause a total rethink of taxation and wealth redistribution.

    The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence

    Who will pay for these jobs? Here is where the enormous wealth concentrated in relatively few hands comes in. It strikes me as unavoidable that large chunks of the money created by A.I. will have to be transferred to those whose jobs have been displaced. This seems feasible only through Keynesian policies of increased government spending, presumably raised through taxation on wealthy companies.

    As for what form that social welfare would take, I would argue for a conditional universal basic income: welfare offered to those who have a financial need, on the condition they either show an effort to receive training that would make them employable or commit to a certain number of hours of “service of love” voluntarism.

    To fund this, tax rates will have to be high. The government will not only have to subsidize most people’s lives and work; it will also have to compensate for the loss of individual tax revenue previously collected from employed individuals.

    This leads to the final and perhaps most consequential challenge of A.I. The Keynesian approach I have sketched out may be feasible in the United States and China, which will have enough successful A.I. businesses to fund welfare initiatives via taxes. But what about other countries?

    1. They could just join the rest of the industrialized world that already has universal basic income (UBI) in place:

      So far, there are only a few pilot programs of universal basic income scattered around the globe.

      But there are many more programs that are means-tested, targeted to individuals in poverty. These are called guaranteed minimum income.






      Then again, I don't think AI will be able to manage people. You'll still need platoons of HR people, counselors, teachers, managers of all levels.

      Machines are really good at doing what you tell them to do. It takes a person wtih judgment and experience to know what to tell them, and how to correct course when AI goes wrong.


      1. The author (a Chinese venture capitalist, btw) thought of that as well:

        The solution to the problem of mass unemployment, I suspect, will involve “service jobs of love.” These are jobs that A.I. cannot do, that society needs and that give people a sense of purpose. Examples include accompanying an older person to visit a doctor, mentoring at an orphanage and serving as a sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous — or, potentially soon, Virtual Reality Anonymous (for those addicted to their parallel lives in computer-generated simulations). The volunteer service jobs of today, in other words, may turn into the real jobs of the future.

        Other volunteer jobs may be higher-paying and professional, such as compassionate medical service providers who serve as the “human interface” for A.I. programs that diagnose cancer. In all cases, people will be able to choose to work fewer hours than they do now.

        1. Here I disagree in part. While these jobs might be the wave of the future, unless we change, they will not be well-paying jobs. The corporation, seeing a glut of human resources, will lowball the pay in favor of even more automation or profits.

        2. This is a huge issue for the next generation.  No doubt FEDEX and UPS have a big incentive to promote robotic vehicles.  Delivery drivers are going to be as rare as pay phone booth installers.  How do you find work in an automated society and what is it going to pay?

      2. I actually remember seeing an article saying that management was at risk of being AI'd out. There will still need to be "compassionate" oversight with perhaps a board of people, but everyday management duties can be largely automated given a sufficient advancement in AI.

    2. There is no avoiding this, IMHO. Robots and AI will displace (and have already started to displace) a significant fraction of workers in this world, and not just at the low end (unless we have an anti-robot revolt). The old cyberpunk dystopian future with arcologies filled with sararimen is replaced now with megacorps employing a relative few highly skilled people and a whole lot of robotic and AI resources with a maintenance crew.

      It has been suggested that there be an "income" tax on AI and robot work units to fund UBI based on the decreased number of employment opportunities. The current Republican thinking of reducing or eliminating corporate tax in favor of strictly personal income tax would be disastrous in this (likely) scenario.

      1. Exactly my point.  GOP-think is that a few hundred trillionaires safely ensconced in their castles, commuting via private jets and helicopters, while billions of "serfs" work long hours for minimal compensation, and let the starving, well, starve, is Okie, Dokie.

        Right Gerbils?  Not your problem as long as you live within the Castle's Walls.

        BTW, did your kneepads get a pretty good workout at the Broadmoor this weekend? Hope you were able to give Gardner a few breaks. devil

    3. AI is a tool that makes things more efficient.  It will disrupt things in much the same way that computers and the internet have disrupted things.  It will not dispose of the need for human services.

      1. Not so much in the way that computers and the Internet have disrupted things. More like the way robotics and automation are in the midst of disrupting things.

        How many coal miners does it take to mine a ton of coal today vs 40 years ago? (In 1980, there were 288,569 mining jobs; in 2013, that number was 80,209, but tonnage of coal was actually up by almost 20%.) How many long-haul truck drivers will it take to haul freight between major terminals once self-driving trucks are fully legalized (there are somewhere south of 2 million heavy truck drivers in the United States right now)? How many cashiers does it take to work a fast food restaurant once they install kiosks to take your order, or kitchen staff once you install some robotics (like the automated drink pouring stations now helping staff at many McDonald's take-out windows)?

        This isn't a set of disruptive technologies like computers or the Internet. There's no equivalent quantity of replacement jobs produced by these technologies, no immense unlocking of new horizons available to the everyman sparking a new employment wave. We live in relatively good times right now, here in Colorado at least. But IMHO we are about to be overtaken by technology, and we're going to have to think things through with a fresh perspective.

  4. Supremes granted part of Trump 's request for a stay in the Moose Lamb ban case. gorsuch, thomas and alito would have granted it in its entirety.

    Will probably end up as a nuanced decision written by Kennedy or Roberts.

    1. R and R, Wasn't it unanimous on the stay relief?

      Seems to me the nuance will only be the exceptions for folks with US connections.

      General concept that executive has great discretion on letting folks into the country is assumed.

      1. No, it wasn't. The ban continues to not apply to plaintiffs with US connections and their US connections–i.e., the plaintiffs and people like them. That's a tad bigger group than a nuance.

      2. As OTD notes, it was a partial lift on the stay. And, with the clock ticking, Trump has 90 days to come up with the new rules. Perhaps they'll be the ones he suggested the other day – the ones implemented under the Bill Clinton administration…

        Also, the Court invited opinions on why the clock should not have started ticking back on June 8 when the Appeals Court issued its ruling…

        In any event, 90 days will be up before the Court actually hears arguments in the Fall.

  5. Oh, well, let's shout it out:


    No sign of Carrholio today so far, but shillstink probability still at 86 percent.   Carnholio is the sole source of shillstink on this sight.  Moddy and Pear are sincere in their beliefs, however misguided.

      1. Unnamed,

        In this alternate reality "bad" is "good". You should probably avoid any comments that could be construed as fair treatment to the "Pear". The group think on this blog is corrosive, would not want you to loose creditably among the KOOKS.

        1. Do you have something to contribute that is worth reading?

          How do you want to help alleviate the suffering of the poor and those displaced by automation?  Take the opportunity to act like a real Christian and offer some thoughtful commentary instead of insults.

          1. It could be that he/she is trying to delegitimize the positions of those he/she disagrees with without making any effort to offer concrete alternatives.  In the  absence of  evidence or examples, it is  lazy writing.

  6. Words of dismay and regret from a Reagan Republican:

    Almost two years ago, I wrote an article for Politico endorsing Donald Trump for president. It was a tongue-in-cheek effort—I “supported” Trump only because I thought he would lose to Hillary Clinton, disastrously, and that his defeat would cleanse the Republican Party of the extremism and nuttiness that drove me out of it. I had hoped that post-2016, what remained of the moderate wing of the GOP would reassert itself as it did after the Goldwater debacle in 1964, and exorcise the crazies.

    Trump was a guaranteed loser, I thought. In the Virginia presidential primary, I even voted for him, hoping to hasten the party’s demise. In the weeks before the November election, I predicted a Clinton presidency would fix much of what ails our country. On November 8, I voted for Clinton and left the ballot booth reasonably sure she would win.

    Needless to say, I was as dumbfounded by the election results as Max Bialystock was by the success of “Springtime for Hitler.” 

    With hindsight, it’s no surprise that the glorification of anti-elitism and anti-intellectualism that has been rampant on the right at least since the election of Barack Obama would give rise to someone like Trump. Anyone who ever read Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here,” which imagined a fascist dictator taking power in 1930s America, recognizes that Trump is the real-life embodiment of Senator Buzz Windrip—a know-nothing populist who becomes president by promising something for everyone, with no clue or concern for how to actually accomplish it. Windrip was“vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his ‘ideas’ almost idiotic,” Lewis wrote.

    Almost everything that has happened since November 8 has been the inverse of what I’d imagined. Trump didn’t lose; he won. The Republican Party isn’t undergoing some sort of reckoning over what it believes; his branch of the Republican Party has taken control. Most troubling, perhaps, is that rather than reassert themselves, the moderate Republicans have almost all rolled over entirely.

    And yet as surprising as this all has been, it’s also the natural outgrowth of 30 years of Republican pandering to the lowest common denominator in American politics. Trump is what happens when a political party abandons ideas, demonizes intellectuals, degrades politics and simply pursues power for the sake of power.

    And our trolls on the Right ask, "Huh, you talkin' to me?"

    1. Trump is what happens when political parties believe they are the sole arbitrator of what is good for Citizens. Your friend at Politico obviously sees himself as an intellectual whose self esteem is hurt in that the Citizens see themselves as the  primary stakeholders. 

      1. Well, at least in as much as "the Citizens" equals a minority of the voting population by 2.3% (almost 3 million voters out of almost 129 million). Let's face it, this government isn't representative of the will of the voters. It's being run as a "mandate" government, but it doesn't have a mandate at all.

    1. yes GG.  People also go nuts without human contact. That's hard wired into our species. We are tribal animals. It's why solitary confinement is a punishment. I intentionally picked my cell phone company, because its customer service is answered by a human being speaking American English.

      In my field, education, students can do well on automated self-paced courses (usually they take these because they've failed regular classes). However, the ones who do well, do well because they have learned to read at grade level, after years of being taught by human beings.

      Most students need human interaction, guided by skilled facilitators (aka teachers) to learn. There isn't a faster, cheaper, better, non-unionized way.

        1. I'm still want to know what your Pro-Life solutions are for those in our society who are being marginalized by automation and the transfer of wealth to the wealthiest through 'tax cuts'?  Since you believe strongly that women should add to the over population of our planet against their will then how do you propose to cloth, feed, house and find livable work for all these new people?  Give us some insight into how a Pro-Life person wants to help the least of these?  Do you have a conscience and care about those who struggle against a society that is inexorably heading towards automation of every industry?

          1. Being pro life has nothing to do with the challenge of automation. 

            You work very hard for the money you earn, or you have worked very hard and now enjoy the benifits of retirement. Even though you are a liberal, you value a dollar. You don't go to the gas station an pay extra per gallon, you either buy from the place you trust or you buy from the lowest price station. You, in every transaction you make are setting the value of the product you purchase. Your price is the result of, raw material cost, labor cost, conversion cost, taxes and profit. If Fred Metz wants a raise, the State of Colorado wants higher taxes, the cost of electricity goes up, and the raw material goes up, then it's your decision to continue to purchasing the product and fund those increases because you love the product or you can't do without it.. If you choose to not want to purchase the product and switch to a different brand then the producer has one choice, reduce labor, reduce conversion cost, reduce quality.

            You automate production to stay in business. After all you have customers who love your product that need support and more product.

            What's a person to do. Get an education or a trade or a service specialty, robot repair.  You will still need a barber, and electrician, plumber, truck driver, concrete mixer, heavy machinery operator,  roto router man, waiter. If you look to manufacturing for labor hours per unit to increase it's not going to happen.

            You will really hate me for this but I believe Dr. Carson is correct. Poverty is a mind set. It has nothing to do with intelligence. If your aspiration is that the State will increase the minimum wage each year, you will live a minimum existence, and it's not my fault.

            It's very Bernie to hate the wealthy, hate profit, hate the idea that there are millionaires and billionaires, and hate those who have the desire to expect more from themselves. It's human nature to covet what another person has, to whine, to have pity parties, to blame ones color or ethnicity, or gender, I've even done it myself. The difference is whether you choose to stay in that moment.

            It is hard to see past our own experience. Remember Kodak film, flash bulbs, those are not growth industries. The things that will be invented in the next 25 – 50 years will grow exponentially. The Liberal mind thinks that if there is a winner then there must be a looser. Not the case. Challenges there are, but so are the opportunities to succeed.

            1. Thanks for the answer Pear but you still haven't explained how you are going to help the displaced and those who can't afford more education or aren't born to wealth.

              Please explain how you will provide jobs for everyone who wants one.

              1. GG,

                The country is pretty close to full employment which according to the Federal Reserve is 3% or so. Wanting a job and committing to a job are totally different. If a person is unwilling to commit to a job then it is not your or my fault and they will live a minimum existance. I am unable to expand my business because of a lack of qualified, safe applicants willing to work. The good ones have a job and keep it. Here is a list of industries that will run shortages.


                The bottom line is that as an employee if you commit to your employer there is a job waiting for you. If you work for a pay check you will most likely never be satisfied or long employed.

                1. Your responses remind me of Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas.  If we just give those with the most more than everyone else will be happy happy happy.  Didn't work that way with Kansas.  Their economy recovered from the Great Recession caused by the  last Republican Administration more slowly than their neighboring states.  Their tax receipts were so anemic that the Kansas legislature finally had to overcome a Brownback veto to keep their schools open.

                  As I understand you argument, there are no problem with our workforce or automation or the distribution of wealth in our country.  The image of an ostrich comes to mind.

            2. It is ironic that you talk about opportunities but Trump spit on the Paris Agreement and innovations in renewable fuels.  How far do you think coal is going to take this country and this planet?

              1. The Paris Accord is a fraud and the President was right to trash it. None of those Nations who signed the agreement want a successful America. They want America disadvantaged while they do nothing.

                1. "None of those nations who signed the agreement want a successful America…….."  So, you're saying, then, that Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, don't want a "successful America?"  How naive and uninformed of you.

                1. Actually my definition of Pro-Life is Biblical based in helping to feed the hungry and heal the sick.  It must be hard on you to feel so betrayed that Jesus was a socialist.  What's a Pharisee to do?

                  1. A Pharise will practice the Golden Rule __ They invented it.  "What is hateful when done to you, do not do to thy neighbor.   Rabbi Hillel.   Jesus was a rabbi and almost surely a pharisee.  Beware of parroting anti-semitiism from the New Testament, Gg.  

        1. Like other false dichotomies which attempt to box people into either/or categories (heterosexual / homosexual, black/white, liberal/conservative), the dichotomy of introvert vs extrovert doesn't describe most people fully.

          That is, most people show attributes of either extroverted or introverted behavior depending on the situation. A new term for that is "ambivert". We are adaptive critters, we humans.

          I'm mostly an introvert, am quite happy spending hours alone, writing and reading and listening to music. I'm also in a profession which requires me to spend most of my day interacting with 20-30 adolescents at a time. And I enjoy that.

          I can speak publicly, at my church or rallies or other events. It's an expansion of psychic boundaries to include the minds of a large group of people.

          To my point earlier,  I'm like everyone else. I need human contact for some portion of every day. I think that the proportion of alone time to people time varies with how we fall on that introversion – extroversion spectrum.

  7. Those call centers are in places with non-native English speaking people because Republican corporatists moved all those jobs overseas….your phony outrage notwithstanding.

    1. No outrage, if MJ wants to be prejudice against non native English speaking folks that's her business. I think you would find that those mean corporatist are primarily Democratic donors and Wall Street types.

      1. "Wall Street Types"? Are you seriously suggesting that corporate America is run by Democrats? That is simply preposterous. Open that can and I don't think you will like what's in there. Besides, when have you seen me support the Democratic party, corporatist , DNC machine? I am an anarchist within my party…but,

        Any Democrat, at this point, is better than any Republican. Your party is infected with greed and hate. It is contagious and has to be stopped. All this hatred and anger can be laid at the feet of Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, John Hagee, Frank Luntz, and a host of Republican leaders with no sense of decency and thirst for power. The tactic of demonizing the political opposition and the strategy of undermining truth with no regard for the best interests of the nation started there…Go talk to Rove and Cheney. Ask Franklin how much he hates the evil heathen “Demoncrats” who don't buy his version of Jesus.

        Barack Obama blew the first 2 years of his presidency bending over backwards to try to work with Republicans. What he got can be found in the archives of this blog…under comments by Andrew al. The Republican Party became the party of hate with the rise of the resentful…the Tea Party. It has grown steadily more violent ever since. Now that some from the left are fighting back, you fuckers cry and pretend you didn't start it.

        Gimme a break.

            1. Your "anarchy" stems primarily from far right wing militia thug groups like Oathkeepers and the Bundy clan; aided and abetted by far right wing talking heads like Levin, InfoWars, and Breitbart.

      2. Seeing your trolling bait, passing it by. When you can honestly answer any of the many questions GG or that "independent thinking" V says you display occasionally, then I'll engage.

        1. My impression is that he/she doesn't post on this site for community or conversation mama.  He is here to dominate.  Going back to at least BJ, he isn't interested in sharing ideas with an open mind.  It gets to a point where maybe we just ignore his insults and continue our discussions without him.  People who don't care about what you think have no capacity for community.

    1. You might want to read the full article — their methodology has a fundamental flaw:

      But Reich took issue with how University of Washington team compiled its “synthetic Seattle.” It was based on areas that “do not at all resemble Seattle,” Reich warned in a letter to the city Monday .

      By contrast, the Berkeley study compared Seattle to a statistical model based on areas around the country — not just within the state — and was thus a “more representative” comparison, he said.

      The University of Washington report excludes “multisite businesses,” such as large corporations, restaurants and retail stores that own their branches directly. Single-site businesses, though — which are counted in the report — could include franchise locations that are owned separately from their corporate headquarters.

      Reich said multisite businesses employ a large percentage of Seattle’s low-paid workers. That meant workers who left single-site businesses to work at multisite businesses were counted as job losses, not job gains in the UW study, he said.

      1. Nice try Davie. But far right wing trollies like Putrid Prune, Moderatus, Andrew, are interested only in sound bites that fit their pre-determined decisions and outcomes. They're not interested in a full serving of actual fact.

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