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July 2015

Across the Wide Missouri: Ed Luce: Donald Trump leaves indelible mark on Republicans: "The legions of Republicans flocking to Mr Trump’s banner are not going anywhere...

...Trump’s finest hour is yet to come.... Trump is likely to do in the debates exactly what has been working for him on the campaign trail--insult the other candidates by name and watch them squirm.... Nor is it possible to steal Mr Trump’s policy clothes. There is no logic to his platform.... Consistency is a vice. Coherence spells dishonesty.

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Weekend Reading: Patricia Crone: What Do We Actually Know about Mohammed?

Patricia Crone (2008): What Do We Actually Know About Mohammed?:

It is notoriously difficult to know anything for sure about the founder of a world religion. Just as one shrine after the other obliterates the contours of the localities in which he was active, so one doctrine after another reshapes him as a figure for veneration and imitation for a vast number of people in times and places that he never knew.

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Weekend Reading: Lant Pritchett (2014): Can Rich Countries be Reliable Partners for National Development?

Lant Pritchett (2014): Can Rich Countries be Reliable Partners for National Development?:

"Time and time again I have seen NGOs and politicians in rich countries advocate that the poor follow a path that they, the rich, never have followed, nor are willing to follow." -John Briscoe (1948-2014), in memoriam.

FORTY-three years ago, the then-President of the World Bank, Robert McNamara, went to Somalia. As a partner in that country’s attempts at development in 1972, the World Bank pledged a loan of $32 million to build a port in the capital Mogadishu. The port was built and, while development went off track into conflict, the port still exists, still operates, and generates what few resources the struggling Somali state controls. Building a port was welcomed and seen by all as core to the mission of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, one of the five institutions that make up the World Bank Group.

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By the Bonny Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond: Ken MacLeod: Scotland after Socialism: "In the name of Old Labour values...

...we've overwhelmingly elected a party that stands on almost all issues to the right of even the present Labour Party, let alone that of Donald Dewar and John Smith. The SNP is a party with a fresh, charismatic leader who appeals to all classes and who proclaims a business-friendly programme in social-democratic language. In doing this she has enabled us to at last catch up with the post-socialist world, without losing face or backing down. We had to imagine ourselves as Venezuelans, in order to become Blairites.

Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for July 25, 2015

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Must- and Should-Reads:

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


And Over Here:

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Weekend Reading: Scott Lemieux on the ACA Truthers...

"With this sentence, [Michael] Cannon is spitting out his own snake oil..."

Scott Lemieux: On Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon: "The ACA was, in fact, passed with somewhat less haste than a turtle crawling through a tar pit...

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Must-Read: Why "Arena" is one of my ten favorite Star Trek episodes of all time!

Keith DeCandido: Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Arena”: "The Metrons... find the confrontation that was about to ensue to be violent and icky...

...and so they will resolve it.... They have prepared a planet for Kirk and the Gorn captain (which is the first time the enemy has been identified by name) to battle against each other in individual combat. Elements will be provided for them to fashion weapons, and they’re equipped with translators that will enable them to talk to each other and record the combat. While Kirk is faster than the reptilian Gorn, the Gorn is far stronger....

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Depression's Advocates

Over at Project Syndicate: Depression’s Advocates: Back in the darker days of late 2008 and 2009, I had one line in my talks that sometimes got applause, usually got a laugh, and always made people more optimistic. Because the North Atlantic had lived through the 1930s, I would say, this time we will not make the same mistakes policymakers made in the 1930s. This time we will make our own, different--and hopefully lesser--mistakes.

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Liveblogging World War II; July 24, 1945: Truman Tells Stalin About the A-Bomb

: Truman Tells Stalin About the Existence of the A-Bomb:


On July 24 I casually mentioned to Stalin that we had a new weapon of unusual destructive force. The Russian Premier showed no special interest. All he said was he was glad to hear it and hoped we would make ‘good use of it against the Japanese.’

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Dont' Trust Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo and Dean Baquet's New York Times that Employs: They Follow the Clinton Rules... anything and everything they write is under suspicion.

In my inbox this morning:

Everyone noticed that this morning's [Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo New York] Times story on HRC emails and "criminal investigation" was already being altered and significantly rebutted and walked back by around 9 am? It's unbelievable...

We really, really need a better press corps here...

Must-Read: Paul Krugman: The Essential Obstfeld: "Olivier Blanchard, who has to have been one of the most influential chief economists ever at the IMF, is retiring. Maury Obstfeld will be his replacement...

...One New Keynesian MIT PhD I know very well replaced with another New Keynesian MIT PhD with whom I co-authored a text now in 10th edition.... Maury’s contributions to economics... two papers in particular that are very relevant. First is his work on self-fulfilling currency crises... that crises could come out of a clear blue sky--that countries could face a speculative attack that would force them off a peg that would otherwise have been indefinitely sustainable.... I was at first very skeptical of this argument. But... I was wrong and Maury was right.... The Obstfeld approach seems highly relevant to the troubles of eurozone countries, and also helps explain why Mario Draghi’s ‘whatever it takes’ worked so well. Second was his work with Ken Rogoff... bringing New Keynesian modeling to floating exchange rates... considered the effects of fiscal as well as monetary policy. As a result, those of us who were well versed in open-economy macroeconomics were fully prepared when issues of fiscal stimulus arose, and didn’t fall into the traps of incomprehension we saw from so many domestic-economy macro types. There is, of course, much more...

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Live from Evans Hall: The curse of Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon continues...

The Republican Party elites thought that they could trap a large chunk of what was the white nativist and racist chunk of America in with the elites (and so they could deploy their votes), but instead the Republican Party elites find that they are trapped in with what is now their base (and so have no choice but to at least pretend to adopt their policies):

Paul Krugman: The Village, the Base, and Saint John McCain: "Over the weekend we were told that... Donald Trump would implode now that he had dared to question John McCain’s heroism...

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Noted for Your Nighttime Procrastination for July 23, 2015

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Must- and Should-Reads:

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


And Over Here:

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Liveblogging World War II: July 23, 1945: Preparing for Nuremburg

The Avalon Project : International Conference on Military Trials: Minutes of Conference Session of July 23, 1945:

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe called the Conference to order.

GENERAL NIKITCHENKO. This is the paper we are submitting this morning-a rough draft or preliminary draft of article 6 [XLIII], which is based, as can be seen, on the French draft submitted last week [XXXV]. The Soviet Delegation have taken the French draft as a basis and made some alterations. This being a rough draft, it is contemplated that further alterations might be submitted by other delegations and perhaps even by the Soviet Delegation after we have considered it.

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Comment of the Day: GB: Weekend Reading: George Orwell: Review of Dorothy L. Sayers's: Gaudy Night: "Personally, I find Sayers fascinating for the things that she almost says...

...but doesn't ever quite say--about both women's issues and class issues. When it comes to class, the best Sayers novel has got to be Murder Must Advertise, with all the tensions and resentments between the public school graduates and the grammar school graduates. Even Busman's Honeymoon has a good dose of that with the relationships between the various policemen. Even Gaudy Night has some interesting insights into British class structure, if you look for them. But yes, one must admit that Lord Peter as a protagonist plays to the snobbery and conceit of the audience.

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Hoisted from the Grasping Reality Archives from Four Years Ago: The Interest Rate That Did Not Bark in the Night: The Surge in U.S. Treasury Debt and the Non-Reaction of Rates

Over at Equitable Growth: most interesting thing about this, looking back, is my failure to fully believe--in spite of Japan since 1990, in spite of the global savings glut, in spite of so many things that make it seem obvious in retrospect--that the naive Hicksian short run--which had already lasted for three years--could last for, potentially, more than ten years:

The Interest Rate That Did Not Bark in the Night: The Surge in U.S. Treasury Debt and the Non-Reaction of Rates (Summer 2011): At the very start of the 2000s in the years of the Clinton budget surpluses--remember those?--the U.S. government was repaying its debt at the rate of $60 billion a quarter: each quarter saw $60 billion less of U.S. Treasury debt out there in the private market for savers to hold.



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Maurice Obstfeld to the IMF

An excellent choice by the IMF: Maurice Obstfeld becomes the new Blanchard: "Living up to Mr Blanchard will be difficult...

...One insider remarked that while Mr Obstfeld should do:

much better than his co-author Rogoff did as Director at the Fund in terms of getting good results [and] influencing the Board... no one is Blanchard. Any economist in the world would have a huge gap to do even part of what Blanchard accomplished.

Not, mind you, that Ken Rogoff did at all badly badly in speaking the technocratic truth that is the IMF Research view of the world to the power that is the IMF Managing Director and Board's role in global economic governance...

Noted for Your Lunchtime Procrastination for July 21, 2015

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Must- and Should-Reads:

Over at Equitable Growth--The Equitablog


And Over Here:

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Live from Hutchinson, Kansas: Walter Jon Williams: Glorious Sights of Kansas (Volume 1): "Anyway, if Dorothy were in Kansas she’d be able to look at space capsules and an SR-71 Blackbird and many other aerospace goodies...

...that is if Dorothy were in Hutchinson, where the Cosmosphere is. The Cosmosphere was the creation of a determined local woman named Patty Corey, who loved astronomy and aerospace and began what started as a planetarium and astronomy museum, but which now has some pretty amazing exhibits.... The Cosmosphere isn’t very big, but they make efficient use of the space they’ve got, which means their SR-71 is hung in a nose-down attitude in order to squeeze it into the lobby. In the basement there is Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7, which when a child I watched on live TV as it plunged to the ocean bottom, fortunately without Grissom in it...

Liveblogging World War II; july 20, 1945: Henry Stimson


The Henry Stimson Diary and Papers:

At eleven thirty five General Groves' special report was received by special courier. It was an immensely powerful document, clearly and well written and with supporting documents of the highest importance. It gave a pretty full and eloquent report of the tremendous success of the test and revealed far greater destructive power than we expected in S-1....

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Liveblogging World War II: July 20, 1945: Harry S Truman

Harry S Truman:

This is an historic occasion. We have conclusively proven that a free people can successfully look after the affairs of the world. We are here today to raise the flag of victory over the capital of our greatest adversary. In doing that, we must remember that in raising that flag we are raising it in the name of the people of the United States, who are looking forward to a better world, a peaceful world, a world in which all the people will have an opportunity to enjoy the good things of life, and not just a few at the top. Let us not forget that we are fighting for peace, and for the welfare of mankind.

We are not fighting for conquest. We want peace and prosperity for the world as a whole. We want to see the time come when we can do the things in peace that we have been able to do in war. If we can put this tremendous machine of ours, which has made this victory possible, to work for peace we can look forward to the greatest age in the history of mankind. That is what we propose to do.'"

Links and Tweets for the Week of July 13, 2015

Sanzio 01 The School of Athens Wikipedia the free encyclopedia



  • RT @MarkThoma: 'Show Some Mercy' Jul 18, 2015
  • RT @LOLGOP: Pretty amazing how brazenly Trump violates Reagan's 11th Commandment: Thou shalt be subtle about race baiting. Jul 18, 2015
  • My political coordinates are 47.2% Left, 61.1% Liberal: Jul 18, 2015
  • RT @GreensteinCBPP: Nice piece from @dylanmatt on how the EITC is one of the best government tools for fighting poverty: Jul 18, 2015
  • RT @economistmom: Love this story on Hal Varian in the WSJ: Silicon Valley doesn’t believe U.S. productivity is down http:// Jul 17, 2015
  • RT @amcafee: Sage career advice from Hal Varian: "Be an expensive complement (stats knowhow) to something that's getting cheaper (data)" Jul 17, 2015
  • RT @beardedstoner: David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, defends American meritocracy, a notion negated by David Brooks writing in t… Jul 17, 2015
  • RT @EliStokols: Jeb basically dismisses Walker, anyone promising to "repeal Iran deal on day one" as unserious and immature. Jul 17, 2015
  • RT @Wonkette: Godly grifter Jim Bakker says Iran deal means End Times, please send money Jul 17, 2015

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Live from Peet's Coffee: Asking for a friend: The Safeway and its associated plaza at the corner of Claremont and College, just over the Oakland line from Berkeley, was once the home of Clarence Bullwinkle Ford. So why is it called "Safeway Plaza" rather than "Bullwinkle Plaza"? And where is my 20-foot statue of Bullwinkle J. Moose?

Must-Read: Noah Smith: His Latest John Cochrane Smackdown: Free-Market Ideology and the Burden of Proof: "John writes: 'My surprise in reading Noah is that he provided no alternative numbers...

...If you don't think Free Market Nirvana will have 4% growth, at least for a decade as we remove all the level inefficiencies, how much do you think it will produce, and how solid is that evidence?...

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