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ghostoffuffle  ·  1512 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I Love Corporations

Working backwards:

    If I lie to a corporation about my personal information, nothing happens. If I lie on the census, the penalty is $500. The census has a noble intent, but if I happen to believe public money won't in fact be more equitably and efficiently allocated based on my postcard, why must I be threatened to fill it out?

If you lie to a corporation about your personal information, that might be called "insurance fraud," for which there are absolutely ramifications. Much like an insurance company, the government compels us to pay a certain amount in to promote good behavior and indemnify against the societal risks of bad behavior. That's called social contract. "But what if I don't want to" has never been a compelling argument to me, which is one of the reasons I've never found libertarianism convincing. If you don't want to follow the social contract, then the social contract breaks down. When the social contract breaks down, and corporations (as well as individuals) are allowed to act in their own unfettered self interest, then you get the East India Company.

    The East India Company may be a fair example of commercial abuse of power in the 1800's, but it basically was the government in India

That's the point. If you remove government oversight, you don't get better business. You get government by another name.. The difference between modern liberal democratic government and corporate government is that one is ostensibly using monopoly on power to enforce social boundaries and thereby uphold social order and manage use of national resources; the other uses that monopoly on power to maintain profit at all cost, no matter how brutal. I know which rubric of public management I'd be willing to trust more if I "followed the money".

Speaking of monopolies. You opened a previous portion of the discussion describing how Walmart might increase market share simply by improving their overall customer experience. The implication, I presume, was to illustrate how beautifully the market self-regulates through positive interactions to make both sides prosper. But it ignored malfeasance, because malfeasance illustrates how in the absence of regulation, the market cares only about profit by all available means. The means I supplied are absolutely tactics pursued by corporations to consolidate market share and increase profits without having to consider the quality of their product or user satisfaction. And the absence of end user harm cannot be conflated with the presence of end user benefit, especially if we recalibrate our idea of who the end user is. While I, some random Joe on the street might not care about corporate espionage so long as my computer still runs, if I was, say, the inventor of a certain kind of computer chip and I appreciated the revenue that my intellectual property generated, I might be kind of sore if somebody stole that intellectual property, and might appreciate the regulations that curb such bad behavior. As for monopolies, they decidedly don't result in cheaper diapers.

All this is to say, I really truly don't understand this dogmatic trust in corporation over governance. There's too much evidence being swept under the rug indicating how corporations would act in absence of regulation. In my eyes, mistrust is maybe the strongest regulatory weapon we as individuals have at our disposal. That goes for both government and the market. Why do we have to couch it as a binary choice between one or the other?

As for the opinion piece that we're discussing:

    The purpose of the article is to ask if our mistrust in corporations is proportional to corporate misbehavior, compared to government or individual behavior.

Pish posh. The purpose of that piece is to present the author's opinion as common sense using a sort of gee-whiz, down-home-country-lawyer reliance on The People's love of a good, simple narrative. It opens:

    I would initially expect most people’s attitudes to be pretty closely tied to their personal experience, more so than their book learning or what they hear on the internet.

And then expels paragraphs of hand-wavy opinion such as

    I would not, and neither would most people. Maybe a few very unusual people would. But we can hardly be resentful and distrustful of someone for just behaving the way the vast majority of normal people would behave.

without ever relying on so much as personal anecdote. Even the portion on history doesn't refer to any particular historical example. The author practically begs his audience not to consider concrete examples or counterpoints lest it deflate the argument.

Never mind the fact that in the introduction, the author questions the sense of mistrusting the corporation over personal acquaintances, asserts that out of the three provided groups, the corporation is by far the most trustworthy, and then never addresses the enormity of that claim. I should trust the corporation more than my wife? My friends? My mother? It's an absurdity so enormous that the author seems to rely on us just kind of... accepting it?

And here's what I really don't understand. You're obviously very intelligent. And you're obviously well-attuned to historical precedent, and not afraid to buttress your opinions with examples. If I asked you not to consider history or legal precedent, you'd wonder why I'd redirected your attention. Moreover, you strike me as somebody who tailors his argument to the audience- the right tool for the right job to maximize efficiency. This opinion piece you posted- it bothers me because it asks its audience not to consider things too carefully. It requires tremendous faith not only in corporations, but in the authority of an entire stranger (not at all one of the "people I know in my personal life") without that stranger's ever having to demonstrate that authority. To whit, it's written for an audience of stupid people. And you chose this article over others to present to this audience on this site.

Then again, it generated discussion, so who am I to finger wag.

ghostoffuffle  ·  1513 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: I Love Corporations

    Walmart does not profit from Sears either, and how does Walmart destroy Sears? By providing customers with better prices and better service.

but if that doesn't work, there's always this

and this

and this

and this

...and so on.

    Walmart doesn’t bomb its enemies or threaten customers, it lets customers decide which retailer treats them best.

That's cute.





EDIT: I appreciate the irony of your using the U.S. Census as an example of hostile government overreach. Given that the point of the census is to figure out how to allocate public moneys most equitably and efficiently. And that the government is constitutionally bound to conduct census- that is, beholden to the people. And that incentives and disincentives to behavior are cooked into just about every corporation, public or private. Were you being ironic?

ghostoffuffle  ·  1532 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Is bread still a thing?

Man, bread and butter is the only right answer.

I'd love to contribute. I'm down to just my phone as a recording rig, so it might sound janky.

ghostoffuffle  ·  1532 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Is bread still a thing?

Boy, I wish I had a fancier answer than grilled cheese, but that's about all we have at hand these days.

I bought flour, too. What I didn't buy was bread flour. Rookie prepper move. How have you been???

ghostoffuffle  ·  1532 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Is bread still a thing?

People took everything here. Kroger, TJ's, Meijer... flour is straight up gone at every price point. Cake flour, even. Who uses cake flour? Do you even know what you're buying? Do you know what that's going to do to your recipes?

Things here are fine. Our governor did an incredible job of taking this seriously early in the game and then enacting incremental changes over the course of ten days to lessen the blow to quality of life. By all reliable accounts and metrics, it's made a difference. Our cases are still increasing across the state, but not exponentially. Our hospital is experiencing its projected peak right now, and we still have space in our ICU and inpatient areas. We'll see if that holds, but for the time being, it means we still have gowns, gloves and goggles. We're still recycling masks.

The joke about ER nurses is that we don't generally give a shit about precautions, so the biggest change has been going from laughing in the face of certain C. Diff to sob choke actually having to gown up to see patients. About 75% of what we see now is rule-out COVID, given that it's presenting as everything from SOA to broad abdominal complaints. And for the most part, that's fine. But it gets scary when you have to deal with a critical. Going into the negative pressure rooms wearing the garb plus CAPR feels like diving into the hot zone. It's eerie.

And then I go home and count out the days and look for symptoms. I was scared a month ago. I'm still scared, but now I'm used to being scared. So I've got that going for me. Humans are so resilient. We can get used to just about anything.

ghostoffuffle  ·  1540 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The free market and small gov't aren't really going too swell, huh

Can't argue with you. I've been thinking for weeks now that the current situation has really monkeywrenched conservative/libertarian arguments in favor of small government and free market capitalism. I've ALWAYS thought that libertarianism of all stripes has only ever come off as appealing in times of plenty. Which of course is self-defeating, since one of the points of modern liberal democratic government is to provide a safeguard against instability. Come to think of it, that's just about any government. And a government small enough to drown in a bathtub may look good as long as the boom times are keeping cash in your pocket, but as soon as an uncontrollable calamity hits and you realize you don't have the funds or the institutions in place to organize a collective, central response and states start to look like independent fiefdoms and local governments have to bid against each other and the federal government and private actors and extra-national entities for supplies and there aren't enough tests around to properly contain the spread of a deadly disease because the government couldn't or wouldn't get their shit together in time and now there is no standardized test but a balkanized system of six or seven tests all with their own flaws and wait times and people are dying like crazy... yeah. Maybe we should have a stronger federal government. In case something like that happens.

Fun anecdote. Last week we started a new policy at work. We're given one surgical face mask to use for the whole day; at the end of the day we drop our used mask into a box so it can be sterilized and recycled. We're now on the second cycle of masks. You can see smudges on some of them from the makeup of whoever wore them before. I have to take it on faith that they're actually clean. But the elastic on the ear bands? Already giving out. And the metal that shapes to the contour of your face is weirdly flimsy, so the masks hang loose now. And everybody is just glad that we haven't yet resorted to bandannas. Why does capitalism feel so much like one big Soviet workaround right now?

At a fundamental, Lockian level, the point of modern liberal democratic government is to address the externalities produced by capitalism. Collective security? Externality. Consumption or national resources? Externality. Rampant inequality? Externality. But shortsightedness is an externality as well. Maybe the biggest, least-addressed of a free market system. And unfortunately, shortsightedness feeds itself until we as a society convince ourselves that government isn't useful. And then when we're reminded again of the whole point, it's too late, and we are forced to eat each other to make it through the winter.

That said, I'd be interested to hear the stance of those here who are dyed-in-the-wool libertarians or conservatives. I know there are a few kicking around, and like you, am_Unition, I really want to understand the counterpoint.

ghostoffuffle  ·  1548 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some inspiration for the bread crowd

Some day I'll work up the gumption to do a sourdough starter. Apparently it stinks to high heaven, but goddamn it would be worth it...

ghostoffuffle  ·  1548 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Some inspiration for the bread crowd

Runner-up: Mark Bittman, whose no-knead bread is as easy as he makes it sound, and also comes out as good as it looks in the NYT pictures. Just make sure to take the suggested amount of time. Good bread requires patience.


ghostoffuffle  ·  1554 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski COVID-19 Round-Up #1

This is exactly what my wife heard from her old work cohort. This feels like a waking nightmare.

We're not yet out of surgical masks or respirators, but with conservative use we'll still be out by next week, just before the shit is really projected to hit the fan. The president of our ED physician's group has told us not to bother soliciting the community to sew masks, as there's essentially no evidence to suggest that they're at all effective.

CDC, as I'm sure you know, is recommending bandanas. It's like if we sent our soldiers to war without body armor. And then recommended that when they ran out of bullets they should just point their finger at the enemy and make a shooty sound.

The first cases are trickling into our hospital. Had one guy last week in a serious way and his chest CT was sobering. He's now on a vent and people are saying critical but stable, but given that average stay in ICU before death was something like 19-21 days in China, I'm betting his ticket comes pre-punched. Then two days ago we had two more like him. I'm off until Tuesday, and I have no idea what I'll go back to.

I'm a hundred percent gonna get it at some point in the following months. 35 is not young enough to feel like I'm gonna glide through. And I'm relatively healthy? But I've also had a chronic cough since I was about 15 and I'm betting my cilia are beaten all to hell. I've had at least one major panic attack per day, but I'm back on my anxiety meds so I got that going for me. But until they kick into full effect, I feel like I'm constantly progressing through finer and finer striations of dread. The dread of what work will be like when I go back. Dread of whether I'll be the one assigned to the COVID-heavy pod. Dread of what my PPE will be like. The dread of waiting for symptoms to kick in. When they inevitably do, eight to twelve days of dread waiting for my breath to get shorter and shorter until I can't talk in full sentences.

ghostoffuffle  ·  1557 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Joe Biden, Architect of Mass Incarceration

Man, I hate doing the line item thing, but I'm going to.

    Any positive you can list for Biden is true of any of his political opponents within the Democratic party.

I fail to see the direct line of reasoning between this statement and your original statement ("there is no positive case for Joe Biden"). So what if a broad swath of the Democratic lineup shared some positives? How does that then translate to "there are no positives for Biden"?

    Just like the last Democratic nominee for President, he comes with a ton of political baggage that can, has been, and will be leveraged against him.

Lemme FTFY:

    Just like EVERY nominee for President, he comes with a ton of political baggage that can, has been, and will be leveraged against him.

I'll demonstrate:

Bernie Sanders is a Socialist, and Socialism is bad, mkay?

Oh, no! There are vague and unfounded rumors that Biden has dementia! Guess what is a perfectly well-founded fact? Bernie Sanders had a fucking heart attack! And now he refuses to share his medical records! Wonder what he's hiding about the state of his health?

Bernie Sanders is a fucking hypocrite.

None of this is to slag on your preferred candidate. It is only to demonstrate that there's no such thing as an unassailable frontrunner.

    I am not making a 'both sides are the same' argument.

You opened with:

    Is there a positive case for voting for Joe Biden?


    The sole reason to vote for Joe Biden is that he plays for the blue team, not The red team.

In doing so, you are absolutely making a "both sides are the same" argument. There are no benefits to voting for Biden over Trump? The only difference is the color of the team? Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.

    I'm falling in line, isn't that enough?

No, it's not. And it's statements like this that demonstrate as much. If the last three years, the last three weeks have taught us anything, it's that messaging matters. Words and ideas, they're like memes, they're like viruses. If your message is "vote or don't, I don't give a shit because there's only one perfect candidate and he's no longer in contention," that message helps shape voter enthusiasm, and ultimately turnout. We saw that last election. And we've seen what the consequences have been. Why are you doubling down on the message? What's the value in ignoring every good reason to vote for the better candidate?

ghostoffuffle  ·  1557 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Joe Biden, Architect of Mass Incarceration

Are we still acting like things are normal? Like this is a normal election with normal stakes? Are we still entertaining some bygone notion of red versus blue?

The last three weeks. The last three weeks is why you vote for Biden. No, that's not fearmongering. Trump, and his supporters, and the sycophants he's surrounded himself with, have operated- always- under the notion that when it comes to governance, lack of experience is a virtue and those who are bureaucratically entrenched are THE ENEMY. The last three weeks have finally, maybe fatally, belied the strength of that philosophy. Do I have to enumerate the ways this administration has fucked up this response? I don't have the time or energy. Read the news. Do you want more of this? Because this administration isn't gonna get more nimble. There's nothing in our recent history suggesting that we're suddenly going to see a competent response. I can't wait to see how they respond to the economic depression that crashes down on us like a. Fucking. Tsunami. After the actual pandemic has receded.

Joe Biden is old. Joe Biden is white. Joe Biden is entrenched. I get it. Although come to think of it, Bernie Sanders is all that shit too, and somehow he gets a pass. But you know what else Joe Biden is? Experienced. And you better bet your sweet ass he'll surround himself with experienced folks, as well. And THAT'S what we need right now. Experience. Competence. Bureaucracy. Know what we don't need? Yes-men. Plutocrats. Spin doctors. Xenophobes. Take a look at the current administration. This is no longer a choice of red versus blue, if it ever was. This is a choice between whatever we have now and an actual government.

And you know what's sad? I, too, have flashbacks to 2016. I remember all these people whingeing about how if Bernie wasn't our man, then there was no point in voting because Trump and Hillary were the same package with different wrapping. And guess what, those people were fucking wrong. Hilariously, tragically wrong. Nobody seems to want to admit that Clinton probably wouldn't have thrown vital tax dollars at an honest-to-god wall between us and Mexico. She wouldn't have separated children from families. She wouldn't have enacted sweeping tax cuts for the wealthy at a time (hindsight twenty twenty, kiddos) when we probably needed to shrink our deficit in case of a national emergency. She probably wouldn't have seeded the courts with the most definitively conservative judges we've seen in our lifetime, thereby casting the future of, say, reproductive rights into doubt (you're calling that "fearmongering?" Really?). And she probably wouldn't have called the current pandemic a liberal hoax," a line which is still making the rounds in circles of conservatives who still resist efforts to flatten the curve. Among other things. So yeah, look back to 2016.

But stop it with this "Bernie is the only viable option" shit. It's not helpful. And it's not true. And if I have to hear it one more time I swear I'm gonna go and lick a subway pole and be done with it. There are some sobering fucking reasons to vote for Joe Biden and they go far beyond red versus blue.

What I like about this model is that it discusses what "effective measures" means, and offers a number of variables that we might tweak. Maybe it says much of the same, but it at least acknowledges that this is a complex and developing situation that will inevitably buck all current models.

Hey, I'll even take "not enough" at this point. But the numbers are selective. Ventilators are important, but actually not indicated or advised for all cases (some populations are at much higher risk for death by secondary VAP in these situations- early reports by professionals working with COVID patients recommend avoiding ventilation for certain populations). High PEEP devices such as BIPAP will also be used. As will ECMO.

The article also notes critical bed shortages, but ignores measures taken in already hard-hit communities re. expanding capacity by transforming non-essential facilities into more critical bedspace.

Is it enough? No. Is it still going to be totally overwhelming? Yes. But calling all efforts to lessen the impact "a deadly delusion," and then closing the argument by saying "but this is all back of the napkin stuff, please don't quote me" seems... unhelpful?

Not to mention, after all that, he says "you know what helps? Containment." Which last I checked was one leg of the curve-flattening stool. Is he NOT recommending hand hygiene and social distancing when isolation isn't possible?

What are this guy's qualifications to speak with authority on this? His bio at the bottom indicates that he specializes in "cognitive architecture and AI."

His articles prior to this one all address those subjects. Despite the addition of numbers, a lot of this article comes off as hand-wavey. Why does everybody get a say in this? How TF am I supposed to make any informed decision if every viewpoint on the internet is presented with equal ethos?

ghostoffuffle  ·  1566 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski COVID-19 Round-Up #1

    I've heard it further suggested that NYC public schools aren't closing because fully 113,000 of their students are legit homeless so the whole "your college food bank is unavailable because of pestilence" is just the tip of the Dickensian spear here.

When I think about it, this waaay more sad than funny? But gaddamn if I didn't laugh out loud. Which I've found myself doing at all the least appropriate moments in the last two weeks. Like all that's left for us is to dance in front of the fire.

I'm not worried about supply shortages or the logistics of tele-educating. The JCPS system is such a shitshow that my kids' school could burn down tomorrow and we wouldn't see a blip in either direction in their MAP scoring. Might go up, seems like they learn more on the weekends anyway.

I am absolutely worried about the fact that three weeks ago, our hospitals had no tele beds available, no ICU/CCU beds available, and we were boarding septic shock patients in ER overflow. That was BEFORE all this tomfuckery. I'm worried about the fact that our ER's plan for how to deal with COVID19 patients is to slap a mask on them and move them into one of our negative pressure rooms. Of which we have two. I'm worried that respiratory therapy's best estimate on how many vents our hospital has approaches 80, which is a far cry from, you know, building an entirely new hospital for COVID19 patients in a matter of a few days. I'm worried about the reports from medical staff in Italy which amount to "hey guys, so woah, we are way over our heads here and it's just spooling up for us, so y'all best pucker your butts." Meanwhile, Louisville is essentially a straight split between newlyweds and nearly-deads. We got old people for days. And I'm wondering what'll happen to all the really, really sick people we see NOW when our cup overfloweth with ARDS patients.

ghostoffuffle  ·  1566 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski COVID-19 Round-Up #1

I'd appreciate updates on how things look on the ground in Seattle over the next few days. Kentucky is up to four cases now, one in Louisville that we know of. I'm thinking we're about twenty days behind Seattle, and given that I'm on the front lines, I'd like to know what I'll be up against. My immediate hunch is that our hospital is woefully unprepared for the next two months. Getting a little anxious.