Assorted links

by on July 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Some reasons why Evo Morales is popular.

2. Is Japan in a liquidity trap?

3. How to throw out the first pitch, Korean gymnast style.  Longer but still short video excerpt here.  I liked it.

4. Robin Hanson offers a simple theory of academia.

5. Must an invading army pay custom duties when it decides to leave?

6. Option value is higher than you think (a life-or-death situation).  Very good article, full of nuanced insight.

Fred July 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Standard middle east shakedown. More important is the question: Must the US rebuild a country that provides sanctuary to those who blow up builds killing thousands and leaving the streets of NYC red with the blood of our dead?

Andrew July 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Nah, the question is whether Afghanistan is largely ungovernable, what our role in that was and how much of a role the CIA played in the genesis of Al Qaeda, such as funding Osama Bin Laden’s establishment of training camps.

After all, the CIA and Pakistan can’t get Al Qaeda out of Pakistan, so how much power did the Taliban really have over a country that we financed the rebel infrastructure of?

Fred July 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

The CIA had zero role in creating AL Qaeda as the mujahadeen groups Bil Laden was a member of were funded by Saudi Arabia. You should do a little research on the matter.

Andrew' July 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm

mmmmkay.

Azzam and bin Laden began to establish camps in Afghanistan in 1987.[87]

U.S. government financial support for the Afghan Islamic militants was substantial. Aid to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan mujahideen leader and founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami radical Islamic militant faction, alone amounted “by the most conservative estimates” to $600 million. Later, in the early 1990s, after the U.S. had withdrawn support, Hekmatyar “worked closely” with bin Laden.[88] In addition to receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid, Hekmatyar was the recipient of the lion’s share of Saudi aid.[89] There is evidence that the CIA supported Hekmatyar’s drug trade activities by giving him immunity for his opium trafficking, which financed the operation of his militant faction.[90]

Or do you mean beyond Wikipedia?

Andrew' July 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Have you been formally made aware of my new policy?

Brian Donohue July 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

You should think about diversifying out of your stockpile of BJ credits. Maybe you can swap some for a few Bitcoins.

Fred July 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Oh, wikipedia, well there is no better researched site on earth. Great job! Love the cut and paste. I bet they have a great write up on WMD and yellow cake, too. Hekmatyar, why that isn’t bin Laden, is it? Nor was the latter of much importance in 1979 when the USSR was actually in Afghanistan. Of course that turned out great for the US, especially in that ex-Soviet satellite Chechnya. Those are fine people there, just ask the friends of the guy on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Karzai and his crooks still don’t deserve a dime.

Andrew' July 19, 2013 at 6:02 am

Look, we shipped a ton of money over there. Who knows where it went. I’m not making more out of it than it is, which is to say actions have unintended consequences.

Our foreign policy leaders seem to always be playing checkers in a chess game because we let them get away with it by marketing it to busy voters as something simpler than the complex system that it is.

Andrew' July 19, 2013 at 6:05 am

To put a fine point on it, now we went and did what the USSR did, with who knows what consequences.

The indiscriminate drone killings is unsustainable even if it doesn’t cause blowback. And one of the marketing tools of Al Qaeda et. al. is the real and imagined US control of Muslim states.

Andrew' July 19, 2013 at 6:38 am

Brian,

I am SOOOO not particular.

j r July 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

“Red with the blood of our dead?” who talks like that?

Also, it’s funny that when poor minor countries do something like this, it’s called a shakedown, but when rich countries do it’s just called the law. For instance, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and installed a puppet government that then borrowed from the Soviets to fight the Afghans who were resisting the Soviet-friendly government. As part of a later debt settlement, Afghanistan was forced to recognize that debt. In other words, Afghanistan was forced to finance its own invasion.

Fred July 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Not being a citizen of the USSR I could not care less how badly they were shaken down three decades ago.

vak July 18, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Just out of curiosity, would you know if the afghans payed any of it?

j r July 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I believe that most of Afghanistan’s debt was forgiven, but they had to officially recognize it before it was forgiven.

Chris S July 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Sounds like a scene out of Brazil. The Terry Gilliam one.

Go Kings, Go! July 18, 2013 at 12:29 pm

#5 I love the Afghan resourcefulness, chutzpah, and courage in shaking down the most powerfully armed gang the world has ever seen. Even the IRS has to nod in respect.

JWatts July 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm

A gang? No, if the US military were an opium gang, the Afghan government wouldn’t dare. This takes as much chutzpah as an Occupy Wall Street protestor violating a park curfew in New York.

Tyler Fan July 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Hanson doesn’t really explain how foragers developed a latent form of the same Nietzschean will-to-power that hunters acquired.

collin July 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Gotta love the resourcefulness of Afghanistan to dealing with the large structural change coming from their literal ‘boom’ economy. Can we offer Afghanistan $20B so they will allow us to remove all our weapons and troops? That would be the best money spent in the last 20 years!

mike July 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Evo Morales sounds like the Coleman Young of Bolivia.

bluto July 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

He’s got a decent stockpile of recently nationalized gas reserves to pay for the free stuff for a good while though.

Brian Donohue July 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

#2. The debt graph tells me that, once again, the death of Japan has been considerably exaggerated.

#6. Really excellent link. Lots of food for thought.

Peter July 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Following the YouTube video of the gymnast’s pitch is what might be the best comment I’ve ever read:

I want to be her toilet.

prasad July 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

I am often squicked by the weird sexual and pornographic preferences of people (and who would I be to judge) but I can usually at least fathom what the appeal might be. Might be weird or disturbing or degrading or frightening, but it’s possible to get into the head of the person enough to tell a story about the appeal.

Not here. Why, if you enjoy someone, um, evacuating over you, would you care about her being flexible? Where is the special appeal of stretchy legs in this context?

Yog Sothoth July 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Is Noah aware of Pigou and real balance effects and so on? I never thought of liquidity trap models as being alternatives to NK models. The liquidity trap is a feature of those models, but also of other models where the Keynesian aspects of the economy are not motivated by short term price rigidity. If you draw the IS curve so it goes horizontal at zero, your model now has liquidity traps, whatever other features it has.

Dingbat July 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

#3: clearly a balk.
#5: When we said “rule of law” we didn’t mean for it to apply to us.

Euripides July 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm

#1. It easy to remain popular, here’s the recipe: destroy any system of checks and balances; jail, prosecute or threaten every potential serious opponent so they leave the country; hand out free money; and most important, keep finding excuses to play victim of “the Empire” in all the media. That’s how you remain popular.

Noumenon72 July 19, 2013 at 2:14 am
Anon July 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Should be subtitled: You throw like a girl.

FC July 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

#5: All this should have been specified in the Status of Forces Agreement. Either DOD lawyers were taking their metal-filled drugs that week or this is BS. Considering that it’s from Kevin Drum…

Jeez! Fool, Please! July 19, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Proof-positive that Asian women are the best.

This completely redeems make longstanding policy of intense hatred or all persons who are not Asian women.

(Yes, I’m a white guy. Why do you ask?)

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