Thursday assorted links

by on January 14, 2016 at 2:19 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Steve Sailer January 14, 2016 at 2:38 am

“1. How well is Polish democracy doing?: a symposium.”

It’s interesting how “democracy” has come to mean the opposite of “majority rule.”

2 Govco January 14, 2016 at 3:03 am

Tomasz Wróblewski’s contribution was good. In fact, only the Polish contributors are worth reading, everyone else is paraphrasing the same memo.

This reminds me of Honduras, where a rightish party impeached a would-be Chavista and everyone just assumed they (not he) were the problem.

3 Thiago Ribeiro January 14, 2016 at 3:45 am

Until recently, the Chavistas won all the big (Parliamentary, presidential) elections in Venezuela. Where is Chávez’s big democratic leader award? I forgot, the Iranians are a threat, but the Saudis are key allies…

4 So Much For Subtlety January 14, 2016 at 4:06 am

Chavez died in power. The Army tried to overthrow him. George W Bush’s administration said not and forced them back to their barracks. Venezuela does not suffer under a single sanction from the US.

Whatever else you can say, the US respected Chavez’s mandate.

5 Thiago Ribeiro January 14, 2016 at 4:56 am

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/21/usa.venezuela.
“By the time the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council met on 13 April, the coup was effectively over, and on 14 April the United States (“albeit with little enthusiasm”[141]) joined with other OAS members in condemning the coup and sending the OAS General Secretary on a fact-finding and diplomatic mission.”-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Venezuelan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_attempt#Aftermath
You can as well thank Bush Sr. for the Russians overthrowing their junta in August 1991.
Anyway, despite Chavez’s sucessive big electoral victories, people (me included) kept saying Chavez was dismantling the country’s democracy. And I have no doubts Maduro wants the same. Only the far-left say that getting most of the votes is a proof of Chavistas’ pure intentions (evidently, when the right used to get most votes, it was because they manipulated the poor).

6 Harun January 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

Democracy and majoritarian rule are something we all think are “good” but in reality, minority rights and protecting liberty is actually far more important.

7 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we have Dr. Timothy Garton Ash complaining that Law and Justice will not concede the high appellate court and the state broadcaster to people he favors. That’s the nut of the complaint, and the complaint is asinine.

8 Samuel January 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm

“will not concede the high appellate court”
By that, you mean follow normal procedure and install judges who had been legally approved.

9 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Those were midnight judgeships appointed by contrivance and they do not merit approval. Neither does the Civic Platform have any right to have 14 of 15 appointees drawn from their preference pool.

10 So Much For Subtlety January 14, 2016 at 4:15 am

Ir explains their immigration policies too – they want to follow Brecht’s advice and dissolve the people and elect another.

How has so much of the West ended up with a ruling class that hates them? And how do we get rid of them all?

Poland is a beacon to be copied. Not pilloried.

11 j r January 14, 2016 at 4:47 am

“How has so much of the West ended up with a ruling class that hates them?”

Perhaps the only truly interesting thing about the present neoreactionary right is the extent to which they have absorbed and subsequently deployed the victimization narratives of the left.

12 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 8:46 am

You fancy you’ve parried him. You have merely avoided addressing the truth he speaks.

13 John L. January 14, 2016 at 9:01 am

The same way repeating “victimization” every time an awful rightwing policy or behavior is criticized doesn’t make the awfulness of said policy or behavior go away? Oh, I had forgotten, it is one of those irregular verbs.
I am victmized. We are persecuted. They are whining.

14 Cliff January 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

Downward spiral into meaninglessness and banality. I can’t agree that a complaint that elites are undemocratic (which by the way is NOT a neoreactionary idea- neoreactionaries do not favor democracy) is comparable to refusing to play football per the terms of your scholarship until the president of your university resigns because one completely unknown random dude allegedly called one minority student a racial epithet.

15 John L. January 14, 2016 at 11:06 am

“is comparable to refusing to play football per the terms of your scholarship until the president of your university resigns because one completely unknown random dude allegedly called one minority student a racial epithet.”
You said something about Kim Davis?

16 T. Shaw January 14, 2016 at 11:26 am

Art,

You’re wasting your time responding to nitwits, parrots, wind chimes, . . . .

It’s the rhetoric. Here’s how the West ended up being ruled by corrupt, incompetent elites (in the US both democrat and establishment GOP) that fear and loath the American people (bitter clingers, angry white men, etc.) and the uses they make of their liberties: post-modern academia, the massive lie factory/press, government dependency that grows (historic low labor participation rate; median income declines; record numbers dependent on food stamps, social security, welfare; glacial GDP growth rate; stagnant wage growth) as progressive policies wreck the private sector, etc.

Some cases include Obama’s war on coal is slamming rural, blue collar/bitter clinger Americans; Obamacare-mandated health insurance/taxes; Muslims massacre Americans and the elites go after bitter clingers’ guns, etc.

17 John L. January 14, 2016 at 1:28 pm

“It’s the rhetoric. Here’s how the West ended up being ruled by corrupt, incompetent elites (in the US both democrat and establishment GOP) that fear and loath the American people”.
American people, which, I guess, is not same people (“black thugs”, “Mexican-born rapists”, “White Liberals”, “cuckservatives”, i.e.non-Fascist Conservatives) who votes for the politicians who actually get elected most of the time (Democrats and establishment GOP), right? I know, I know, you love the American people (singular), it is American persons you hate.

18 T. Shaw January 14, 2016 at 2:46 pm

John L., You guessed wrong. Nothing in my comment said that. And, screw you.

19 John L. January 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

“And, screw you”.
I fell the love already.

20 msgkings January 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

When did the ruling class/elite in the West ever NOT loathe and despise the proles?

21 Hazel Meade January 14, 2016 at 3:20 pm

I think I’m beginning to understand the Trump phenomenon.
He’s an elite who clearly doesn’t loathe the proles – but rather enjoys and celebrates the same values and entertainment as themselves. He revels in vulgarity.

Don’t get me wrong, I loathe Trump for his policies. But I can see why someone who hates the current elites and their values and culture would be attracted to him.

22 msgkings January 14, 2016 at 9:32 pm

He revels in narcissism. Don’t get it twisted, Trump looks down on those filthy hicks at his rallies as much as anyone, maybe more so (he’s a known germophobe). But he’s big time into people showering him with adulation and holding up signs with his name on them.

23 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 7:26 pm

When did the ruling class/elite in the West ever NOT loathe and despise the proles?

Pretty much from 1828 to 1952.

24 j r January 14, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Boy the way Glenn Miller played
Songs that made the Hit Parade
Guys like us we had it made
Those were the days

25 msgkings January 14, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Love the specificity, what happened to Western elites in 1828? How about 1952?

Oh by the way, if you think Wilson, DeGaulle, Stalin, Lord Mountbatten, and the rest of ’em were big fans of the hoi polloi you need to crack another book open.

26 Anon. January 14, 2016 at 6:42 am

On the one hand, yes. On the other hand, “democracy” in the modern sense refers to constitutional democracies, with checks and balances and limits explicitly designed to stop the majority from doing what it wants. When these mechanisms are degraded, people perceive it as an attack on democracy itself. Personally I think a small-scale experiment in direct democracy would be very interesting.

27 chuck martel January 14, 2016 at 11:20 am

“Democracy” is a word without meaning, or at least it has a meaning so amorphous that it’s become useless. Coining a word that describes “elected bureaucratic management” would more accurate.

28 msgkings January 14, 2016 at 12:40 pm

That’s called ‘representative democracy’ or a ‘republic’

29 Horhe January 16, 2016 at 2:10 pm

James Burnham called it the managerial state.

30 A Definite Beta Guy January 14, 2016 at 8:15 am

“They have promised to crack down on banks, lower the retirement age and give massive monthly cash handouts to parents for each child.”
Are they taking about Poland or Bernie Sanders?

31 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 8:49 am

As remarked by several of the participants, there is a corps of bourgeois who fancy that public institutions are, by right, their sandboxes. They get very shirty when anyone even admonishes them in their sandboxes.

32 Peter Akuleyev January 14, 2016 at 9:14 am

The current Polish government does not represent anything close to a majority of the Polish people – it represents a plurality, but a minority of eligible voters. Of course, that is arguably true of the governments in many “democracies”.

33 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

Three quarters of the Polish electorate voted against Civic Platform. About 37% voted for Law and Justice and another 18% voted for one of three lists who have taken Euroskeptic, social conservative, or nationalist stances. You lost. Deal with it.

34 Peter Akuleyev January 14, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I didn’t lose anything. You are projecting. I have never supported PO (Civic Platform). Voting the corrupt PO politicians out will prove to have been a good thing for Poland long term. I am not particularly worried about Polish democracy either. I do think Law and Justice are a bunch of morons and economic illiterates, but at least they have a realistic policy on immigration. But in any case, it is a fact, not an opinion, that Law and Justice enjoys the support of no more than a plurality of the Polish electorate. It is also a fact that Obama, like Bush before him, has never had the explicit support of the majority of the American people. I am not claiming that the Polish government or the US government is therefore “illegitimate”, but trying to point out that “democratic” governments are not particularly democratic, or at best depend on the passive assent of a large number of people who don’t really care very much.

35 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm

It is a fact, not an opinion, that Poland has a multi-party system in which no one ever gets an absolute majority. The implications of that seem to escape you.

36 Peter Akuleyev January 15, 2016 at 2:53 am

No, the implications of that fact are the point of my post. Stop arguing with the voices in your head.

37 Jeff R. January 14, 2016 at 9:16 am

I thought this quote was interesting:

“Even more than 25 years after the fall of communism, significant parts of those societies have not been able to internalize democratic values. For the most part, these societies react to globalization and further EU integration with fear, which populists easily transform into militant nationalism.”

Isn’t it a bit off kilter to simply conflate resistance to “further EU integration” with militant nationalism? Can one oppose joining the EU without being described as some sort of retrograde, xenophobic, reactionary? The gist of all these sputtering, indignant ramblings seems to be ‘why can’t Poland just shut up and get in line?’

38 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 11:22 am

Isn’t it a bit off kilter to simply conflate resistance to “further EU integration” with militant nationalism?

The portside’s ‘arguments’ generally consist of defamations. This is no different.

39 Steve Sailer January 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm

After 220 years of mostly being ruled from Moscow, Berlin, and/or Vienna, maybe the Poles want to be ruled from Warsaw rather than from Brussels? Is that so bad?

40 Urso January 15, 2016 at 9:53 am

By definition, resisting EU integration is nationalism. Whether it’s militant is another question entirely.

41 Cass1an January 14, 2016 at 3:12 am

5. Not mentioned there, but the effect could be driven by self-selection at the inception phase. With good accounting you’ll get a fair deal for sure (potential buyer will be less reluctant to start the process), but with messy accounting you’ll either get nicer cut or nothing (because potential buyer had chosen not to try at all). And as there is no data on unstarted M&A, so you can not fix this in the data. So whether there you’ll really suffer with good accounting can not be established.

42 Asher January 14, 2016 at 10:08 am

Yes this seems to me a methodological hole you could drive a truck through. In all likelihood firms with good accounting get many more offers and are much more likely to clip that synergy coupon.

43 Kurt January 14, 2016 at 3:28 am

The Abdul-Jabbar link is missing the leading “h” of http…..

44 So Much For Subtlety January 14, 2016 at 5:06 am

Am I missing something interesting in the reviews of Jacob Levy’s book?

I really don’t see it. It looks like a fairly obvious statement of the obvious. Obviously.

45 Andrew M January 14, 2016 at 6:25 am

2. Leaf blowers: An ageing popualtion will clamp down on all sorts of noisy and/or anti-social behavior, not just leaf-blowers. This is a development to be welcomed.

46 JWatts January 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm

“An ageing popualtion will clamp down on all sorts of noisy and/or anti-social behavior, not just leaf-blowers. This is a development to be welcomed.”

Sure, right up to the point they start clamping down on things you like.

47 Todd Kreider January 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Like having an occasional brewski in the park. What if they started to clamp down on that??

48 a Fred January 14, 2016 at 6:36 pm

Get off your lawn! ??

49 JWatts January 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm

“Like having an occasional brewski in the park. What if they started to clamp down on that??”

That’s only the start. I can see a Nanny State run by SJW’s that bans things like “hateful” tee-shirts, overt displays of nationalism, religion, “hate” groups (for example the Boy Scouts, Daughters of the Confederacy, Red Skins, etc.).

50 Hazel Meade January 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Actually the aging and the young will self-segregate into different neighborhoods, which they already do.
Young ,single people live in walkable downtown neighborhoods, where there are few noise restrictions.
Families with children live in suburban subdivisions with lots of parks and playgrounds, where noise is limited to the sound of children playing, lawnmowers and leaf blowers.
Elderly people live in retirement communities and gated apartment/condo complexes, which are quiet and relaxing.

51 Andrew M January 14, 2016 at 6:25 am

2. Leaf blowers: An ageing population will clamp down on all sorts of noisy and/or anti-social behavior, not just leaf-blowers. This is a development to be welcomed.

52 rayward January 14, 2016 at 7:08 am

Better leaf blowers than the return of the once ubiquitous Big Wheel. You have to be there to understand, but trust me: there’s nothing worse than the grating sound of a fleet of Big Wheels early Saturday morning after a night playing foosball and drinking beer at the campus pub. .

53 Joe January 14, 2016 at 7:53 am

My son plays in a cozy coupe in the neighborhood and I swear the wheels are as loud as a real car!

54 A Definite Beta Guy January 14, 2016 at 8:13 am

$900 for a battery on top of the money for the leaf blower is a lot of money. The 2-cycles by me sell for under $200.

Pretty arrogant to demand someone spend 6 times more cash because “noise.” Remember, we don’t discriminate, we let our prices do that for us.

FWIW, I rake my leaves and remove them by hand when needed.

55 Albigensian January 14, 2016 at 10:41 am

“You find two-stroke engines in poorer countries because they’re cheap,” Fallows wrote in a blog post, citing a 2004 National Institutes of Health study showing that two-stroke engines on two- and three-wheeled vehicles in Delhi, India, account for a significant amount of air pollution. “You don’t find them in richer countries because they’re so dirty and polluting.”

That must be why so many chain saws are built with 4-cycle engines. Umm, oh, they’re not? No, of course not, because the issue is not cost but size and weight. Two-cycle engines are used in just about all portable power equipment because they’re smaller and lighter than 4-cycle engines with similar power ratings.

Although 2-cycle engines often do produce an annoying whine, probably because their power curve requires that they be run at high RPMs in order to produce anything close to their rated power. And in some cities in India all those 2-cycle-powered autorickshaws do turn the air into a nasty bluegrey substance. (Don’t some cities in India now require autorickshaws be powered by CNG?)

I’d guess the main opponent of mandated rechargeable leaf blowers would be lawn service contractors, not only because rechargeable tools cost more but because they don’t produce as much power, because battery management is a nuisance (you’ll want to bring some spare batteries to the jobsite, they should be recharged after use, durability of the batteries remains an issue).

56 carlolspln January 14, 2016 at 10:11 pm

“(Don’t some cities in India now require autorickshaws be powered by CNG?)”

Mumbai banned them from the inner city > 10 years ago, & its air quality improved instantly.

57 Harun January 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

Fallows is an idiot.

58 chuck martel January 14, 2016 at 9:35 am

But Fallows neglects to confront the real issue, which is foreign leaves, leaves from across the street, on a lawn. When will people be held responsible for their own leaves?

59 Albigensian January 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

If you run over your lawn with a mulching lawnmower after the leaves have fallen, prevailing winds will whoosh them … away.

60 Todd Kreider January 14, 2016 at 10:50 am

Leaf blowers are a throwback to late 20th century innovation. By 2020, all new trees will have leaves that are genetically altered to disintegrate on the branch right before the tree chemical would normally push them off the branch . Naturally, old trees will have this technology retrofitted.

61 Mike W January 14, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Donald Trump is proposing a wall.

62 Ted Craig January 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

Actually, it’s the aging population that’s increasing leaf-blower usage as they outsource their lawn care.

63 rayward January 14, 2016 at 6:28 am

3. Of course, regular readers of this blog know that Cowen communicates in code; correctly deciphering the code is another matter. What Graham forgot in his essay about inequality is his own “disagreement hierarchy”, which invited comments that proved Graham’s disagreement hierarchy if not his argument about inequality in the essay.

64 rayward January 14, 2016 at 6:43 am

I will ask a simple question: if Silicon Valley were earth’s most fertile ground for growing tulips, would it produce tulip billionaires?

65 Gochujang January 14, 2016 at 10:28 am

Graham seems a hedgehog on this. Or should I say a unicorn? He has a very specific experience of the world, and seems uninterested in other true things.

@praxtime did a good job of acknowledging other true things.

66 Alan Gunn January 14, 2016 at 8:17 am

5. Some shareholders. But if you are a shareholder in the acquiring corporation you are better off with accurate disclosure. Why ignore these people? Aren’t accurate prices a good thing overall?

67 cheesetrader January 14, 2016 at 8:56 am

Oh sure – who doesn’t have $1250 to plop down on a leaf blower?

Screw that – get a shredder instead – like this one: http://www.stihlusa.com/products/blowers-and-shredder-vacs/shredder-vacs/sh56ce/

And if any of your neighbors complain about the noise, ask them why they hate composting – and America

68 Hazel Meade January 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Hmm. Interesting concept, but why bag the shredded clippings? leave them on the lawn and let them mulch the turf, like grass clippings.
Supposedly (from what I have read), leaving grass clippings on the lawn not only helps to suppress weeds but builds up the turf, so your lawn will be healthier.
For that matter, why not just run over the leaves with a lawn mower a few times?

69 cheesetrader January 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Easier to handle – you can put them whereever you want.

You can mow them – if the leaf fall isn’t too heavy and/or it’s on grass. But my driveway gets buried by a big maple and the mower doesn’t put the shredded leaves where I want them.

etc

70 Hoosier January 14, 2016 at 8:58 am

Do the supporters of the current Polish government also believe that Putin’s Russia is equally democratic? After all, he clearly has the support of the majority of Russians, and most of the criticism directed at him comes from foreigners, ex-pat Russians living abroad, and bourgeois elitist types. Seems very similar to Poland right now.

Or is there a difference that I’m missing?

71 Peter Akuleyev January 14, 2016 at 9:28 am

What is your point exactly? Most foreign supporters of the current Polish government tend to be the same paleo types who think Putin is a tough guy whose tactics are to be admired, even if they don’t trust him. There are certainly plenty of differences – the current Polish government does not enjoy the support of most Poles, just a plurality. On the other hand, most Polish expats do support PiS because Poles abroad tend to be more working class than Russian expats, and also more nationalistic than Poles in Poland. The main difference that paleos ignore is that Putin is an alpha “man’s man”, whereas Kaczynski is an odd deeply Catholic mama’s boy who has never married (a “confirmed bachelor” as people said in more polite times). Kaczynski is unlikely to excite foreign paleocons the way Orban and Putin can.

72 Bob from Ohio January 14, 2016 at 9:48 am

“the current Polish government does not enjoy the support of most Poles, just a plurality”

Says you. Prove it.

They won an election, there were no barriers to voting. You assume the non-voters oppose the government.

You are just a sore loser.

73 Hoosier January 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

My point is that I often hear people who support the current Polish government then criticize Putin and vice versa. They both seem very similar to me.

74 Peter Akuleyev January 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

Hoosier, in my experience most people who support the Polish government are also if not Putin supporters, at least Putin admirers. Certainly in the West.

75 Peter Akuleyev January 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

Apparently you don’t understand the word “plurality”. The numbers, and the polls, would seem to speak for themselves. How would you prove a majority of Poles support the government?

76 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 11:36 am

Apparently you do not understand how to add percentages in a multi-party system. Civic Platform, the quondam communists, and various like minded lists got 45% of the vote. That’s a minority, much as that may bother you.

77 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 11:17 am

Hoosier, the complaint of critics of the current Polish government is as follows: they took the high appellate court and the state broadcasting bureau away from us and it’s our property. Well, no it it not yours. Deal with it.

78 Bob from Ohio January 14, 2016 at 9:54 am

I love how the one guy on Poland thinks “tens of thousands” of protesters are more important than millions of voters who voted the current government into office.

BTW, the best way to avoid having the government try to influence “public” broadcasters is not to have any. There is no need for the state to own broadcasters.

79 Art Deco January 14, 2016 at 11:19 am

There is no need for public broadcasters or (for the mass of students) public schools. There’s a reason people like Timothy Garton Ash want them, though. Not that he’d admit to it.

80 Ted Craig January 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

2. One of the few downsides of working at home is the amount of noise pollution created by the industrialization of lawn care.

81 Ed January 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

#2 Who is going to launch a war on offensive bloviating? Fallows better get some mutual defense treaties lined up.

82 Mark Thorson January 14, 2016 at 1:47 pm

I consider myself an expert on early computers, and I’ve never heard of an Avco 1790. Who’s Avco? The first page of Google hits on Avco 1790 all point to variants of this computer dating article. And I assume that’s the Cap Weinberger referenced in the article.

83 Dan January 14, 2016 at 2:27 pm

Step 3: refuse to engage or respond at all to the arguments of those who disagree and instead dismissively accuse them of a bias that you made up yourself.

84 Floccina January 14, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Sitting down with a basketball legend with a genius-level IQ demands eclectic questions and invites delicious answers.

Is the above statement considered racist in some circles?

85 jjbees January 14, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Communist oligarchy importing millions of foreigners to destroy the polish people and drive down wages= democracy

SUCK IT!

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