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June 2016

Liveblogging World War I: June 21, 1916: Battle of Carrizal

Wikipedia: Battle of Carrizal:

The Battle of Carrizal occurred on the June 21, 1916. It was a major skirmish between United States Army troops of General John J. Pershing's Punitive Expedition and Carrancista troops fought at the town of Carrizal in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

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Liveblogging World War II: June 20, 1946: Letter to Harry S. Truman

Frankilin D'Olier: Nuclear Files: Library: Correspondence: Harry S. Truman: Letter, June 20, 1946:

Letter on the US Strategic Bombing Survey

From: Frankilin D'Olier, Chairman of the US Strategic Bombing Survey
To: Harry S. Truman, President
Date: June 20, 1946

My dear Mr President:

Within the next fortnight the Survey will submit to you a summary report on the study of air power in the Pacific war requested by your letter of 15 August 1945.

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Monday Smackdown: Todd van der Werff Gets Game of Thrones Wrong...

Battle of the bastards Google Search

This is wrong!:

Todd van der Werff: Game of Thrones season 6, episode 9: 5 winners and 6 losers in the “Battle of the Bastards”: "Winner 1: Jon Snow...

...Well, obviously. Jon doesn’t just win the titular battle. He also effectively wins a battle against the entire dramatic apparatus of the TV show he lives in.... Jon also earned his win. Yeah, he was saved at the last minute by his half-sister and Littlefinger (more on that in a second), but he kept his troops rallied, even when they were surrounded on all sides by men with shields who were slowly killing all of them.... Yeah, someone else saves the day, but Jon gets everybody to the point where the day can be saved...

John Snow was so completely out-generalled by Ramsey Bolton that it isn't even funny. Yes, Wun-Wun and Petyr Baelish's acceding to Sansa's request and showing up with the knights of the Vale saves the day. But all John Snow did was to not die while his strategic, operational, and tactical decisions got his army of Stark loyalists and Wildlings slaughtered.

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Barack obama elkhart indiana Google Search

Live from Republican Economists' Self-Made Gehenna: I find myself annoyed with Michael Boskin this morning.

He gives an extremely shoddy reading to the President's remarks at a Town Hall in Indiana. Obama said:

Barack Obama: Elkhart, Indiana PBS Town Hall: "About domestic policy... the thing I would have probably done differently... I would have tried to describe earlier to the American people how serious the recession was going to be, which would have hopefully allowed us to have an even bigger response than we did. The Recovery Act, our response to the recession, was actually bigger than the New Deal. That’s how a lot of teachers kept their jobs. That’s how a lot of construction workers stayed on the job and projects kept on going. That’s how a lot of states met their budget. That’s why we didn’t end up having 30 percent unemployment...

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Links for the Week of June 19, 2016

Most-Recent Must-Reads:

Most-Recent Links:

Most-Recent Storified:

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Must-Read: I confess that I haven't been following Brexit, because it has seemed to me that--whatever you think of the European Union--Britain's strategy is obvious. It is large enough and important enough either to get an explicit carve out from European Union institutions it does not like (i.e., the Euro) or, if necessary, to nullify them. As long as it is in, it has a powerful voice to shape what happens in Brussels. Thus the right strategy is: Use your voice to pressure Brussels in positive directions, nullify the application inside Britain of European Union policies that are intolerable, and let the "leave" decision by theirs--make them throw you out if they don't like your attitude.

"Leave" has always seemed to me to be a destructive attempt to summon the demons of nationalism, and "leave"'s advocates have seemed to me to have careerist rather than public-spirited motivations...

Dan Davies: The absolute height of irresponsibility...:

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Liveblogging Postwar: June 18, 1946: Eleanor Roosevelt


Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

HYDE PARK, Monday—I am constantly being asked by people how they can help to make this world 'one world,' and I am constantly answering that, as far as I know, there is only one way that we, as individuals, can help. That is by doing all we can in our own communities, first to create good feeling amongst all our neighbors, and secondly to work with all of them to make our communities strong, well-governed entities, since a state or a nation can only be as united and as strong as each individual community can make it.

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Weekend Reading: Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson: Remembering Andy Grove—and Government's Role in Modern Technology (Concrete Economics)

Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson: Remembering Andy Grove—and Government's Role in Modern Technology: "The side of [Andy] Grove’s success that has received scant notice... the huge debt that he and the industry he led owed to U.S. public policy.

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Procrastinating on June 18, 2016


Over at Equitable Growth: Must-Reads:

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Weekend Reading: Manu Saadia: Introduction: Trekonomics

Manu Saadia: Trekonomics: Introduction:

I have shown how the ideas of progression and of the indefinite perfectibility of the human race belong to democratic ages. Democratic nations care but little for what has been, but they are haunted by visions of what will be; in this direction their unbounded imagination grows and dilates beyond all measure. Here then is the wildest range open to the genius of poets, which allows them to remove their performances to a sufficient distance from the eye. Democracy shuts the past against the poet, but opens the future before him... Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America no longer seemed so important whether the world was Adam Smith or Karl Marx. Neither made very much sense under the new circumstances... Isaac Asimov, I, Robot

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Slides for: The Confidence Fairy in Historical Perspective

History of Economics Society :: June 17, 2016 :: Geneen Auditorium, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Durham, NC: |


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Barack Herbert Hoover Grover Cleveland Obama?: Hoisted from 6.5 Years Ago

Preview of Test

Hoisted from 6.5 Years Ago: Barack Herbert Hoover Grover Cleveland Obama?: For some time I have been worried about fifty little Herbert Hoovers at the state level. Right now it looks like I have to worry about one big one:

Barack Obama: January 27, 2010: "Families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions...

...The federal government should do the same. So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year. Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected.  But all other discretionary government programs will.  Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't.  And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will. We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work.  We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year…

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Procrastinating on June 16, 2016


Over at Equitable Growth: Must-Reads:

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Liveblogging the American Revolution: June 17, 1778: Response to British Peace Proposals

Congress: Response to British Peace Proposals:

Congress resumed the consideration of the draft of the letter, in answer to the letter and papers received from the Earl of Carlisle, &c. Commissioners from the King of Great Britain, which was unanimously agreed to, and is as follows:

To their Excellencies the Right Hon. the Earl of Carlisle, William Eden, and George Johnstone, Esqrs. Commissioners from his Britannic Majesty, Philadelphia.

I have received the letter from your Excellencies of the 9th instant, with the inclosures, and laid them before Congress. Nothing but an earnest desire to spare the farther effusion of human blood could have induced them to read a paper, containing expressions so disrespectful to his Most Christian Majesty, the good and great ally of these states, or to consider propositions so derogatory to the honour of an independent nation.

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Liveblogging the American Revolution: June 16, 1778: John to Abigail Adams

John Adams: To Abigail Adams, 16 June 1778:

Passi June 16, 1778

My dearest Friend

Since my last I have had the inexpressible Pleasure of yours of the 25 of March by the Way of Holland, which is the first and the last Letter as yet received from you.

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Somebody on the FOMC Really Should Have Dissented on the Interest Rate...

Must-Read: Somebody really should have dissented from this press release: if 0.5% is the forecast of the appropriate Fed Funds rate in 2018, zero is the appropriate Fed Funds rate now.

But who? Charlie Evans or Lael Brainard? I would bet Lael, based solely on the Fed convention that a Governor's dissent is a much bigger deal than a Regional Bank President's dissent. But that is only a guess: I do not know...

Https www federalreserve gov monetarypolicy files fomcprojtabl20160615 pdf

FOMC: Press Release--June 15, 2016: "The pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed while growth in economic activity appears to have picked up...

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Necessity Sweepstakes Tor com

Live from Thessaly: Stubby the Rocket: Necessity Sweepstakes!:

I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaukon the son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess; and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new thing. I was delighted with the procession of the inhabitants; but that of the Thrakians was equally, if not more, beautiful. When we had finished our prayers and viewed the spectacle, we turned in the direction of the city; and at that instant Polemarkhos the son of Kephalos chanced to catch sight of us from a distance as we were starting on our way home, and told his servant to run and bid us wait for him. The servant took hold of me by the cloak behind, and said: ‘Polemarkhos desires you to wait…’

‘Why?’ I responded.

Because is giving away a galley copy of Necessity, the third volume of Jo Walton’s Thessaly. And there was a drinking party last January over at Crooked Timber, in which part of the discussion went:

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Liveblogging World War I: June 16, 1916: Democratic Party Platform of 1916

Democratic Party: Platform of 1916:

The Democratic Party, in National Convention assembled, adopts the following declaration to the end that the people of the United States may both realize the achievements wrought by four years of Democratic administration and be apprised of the policies to which the party is committed for the further conduct of National affairs.

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Liveblogging Postwar: June 15, 1946: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt: My Day:

HYDE PARK, Friday—I have just finished a little book, 'Sgt. Mickey and General Ike,' which will take you only a short time to read, but I think it will leave you with a very pleasant memory. You almost feel as though you knew Sgt. Michael J. McKeogh. And his story as told by Mr. Richard Lockridge certainly sheds a pleasant light on the character of General 'Ike,' or 'The Boss' as his headquarters staff evidently called him.

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Liveblogging the Cold War: June 14, 1946: Nuclear Weapons

Office of the Historian, U.S. Dept. of State: Acheson-Lillienthal and Baruch:

[At] the Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Moscow between December 16 and 26, 1945.... the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union created a United Nations commission to advise on the destruction of all existing atomic weapons and to work toward using atomic energy for peaceful purposes.... That same month, U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes created a special advisory committee, whose members included Under-Secretary of State Dean Acheson and the Chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority David Lilienthal, to compose a report....

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Must-Read: Well, well, well--since the 1980s modeling the U.S. wealth distribution as an endless non-ergodic inegalitarian spiral seems to fit rather well. That's a genuine surprise...

Y. Berman, O. Peters and A. Adamou: Far from Equilibrium: Wealth Reallocation in the United States: "We fit observed distributions of wealth--how many people have how much--to a model of noisy exponential growth and reallocation...

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Why Not Up the Mississippi?: Outtake from Cohen and DeLong, Concrete Economics

Preview of Why Not Up the Mississippi Outtake from Cohen and DeLong Concrete Economics

The conventional--pioneer--wisdom in American history is, still, that independent, entrepreneurial people settled the continent in small farms and established this civilization, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps and building things through their own energy and enterprise, aided by democracy and the legal infrastructure of the free market.

This, of course, misses three big and immediate things:

  • First, the Amerindians who had been 12000 years in residence rightly objected--both to the plagues the European settlers brought that decimated their populations and then to the form the civilization being built took. Behind small-farm settlement stood conquest--and conquest requires governments and armies, not free-market association and catallaxy.

  • Second, a great deal of the surplus generated by the American economy--and used to finance its development--up to and beyond 1865 came from slavery--once again, not a free-market institution by any means.

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Must-Read: I find myself thinking that when Larry and I presented our "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy" back in 2012, some critics (Valerie Ramey) said they did not think there was hysteresis--that recessions did not, in fact, cast shadows on future productive potential--other critics (Marty Feldstein) said that they thought recessions had a cleansing effect (either through sectoral-adjustment or policy-reform channels) and hence boosted future potential; and yet others (Ken Rogoff) believed that the interest rates on government debt did not in fact represent the true opportunity cost of government borrowing, and it would turn out to be very expensive for even reserve currency-issuing sovereigns with exorbitant privilege to pull the fiscal-expansion fire alarm.

I wonder if any of them would claim that austerity lowers future debt/GDP burdens today?

Bill Emmott: Let’s Get Fiscal: "There can be pain without gain--a lesson that Western populations have been learning the hard way since at least 2012...

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