Sunday assorted links


#2 pt 2: I am jack's complete lack of surprise.

It's related to my thoughts on Tyler's post a while back about the brutishness of white/conservative men. If you think conservative men are brutish then you'll be dumbfounded by how much worse non-white men are on average. But the commentary has only been about less-educated whites, we're not allowed to talk about voting habits, lifestyle habits, bad habits of less-educated non-whites in polite socity. Because only white people matter, only white people have agency.....

The thought control impulses of the left are strong. They are reprehensible.

Especially the ultra left, like neoliberal Marxists infesting the Jewish-run media cabal of publicly traded media firms.

FYI, this might have to be explicit.

There are at least two stark contradictions that will probably go over the head of a poorly educated individual of white nationalist tendencies. If you cannot find at least two, and want to rid the country of melanin, you may be woefully misinformed, somewhat brainwashed, or both.

The confusion is entirely in your head. Quite a few alt right types are very comfortable with Marxist interpretations of power dynamics. That and neo-liberal is an epithet with its provenance on the left. Never mind that quite a few neo-liberals are ex-Marxist so it's not quite the satirical coup you thought it was.

Nathan the kind of smug, self confident look you were going for there- it just isn't you. Satire is best left to people comfortable in their own skin. Stick to the whiny, self-indulgent wall of text comments that you are used to.

When I was introduced to the term "neoliberal", while involved in a field of study which is justifiably villified and hated for the fact of being a social science, this was discussed in an economic development context which grouped together policies like low taxes, privatization and reduced regulation. That being the means, with the goal of faster economic growth over time (perhaps with some wishful thinking and denialism that most of the upside risks benefitted groups advocating for such policies and downside risks were mostly faced by those who couldn't possibly have had much of a clue even what was going on ...).

So, basically, "neoliberal" sums up most of what is commonly considered to be right wing economic policy positions.

It's handy to have a term that group together the main policy dynamics of an era. That some people use the term while expressing disapproval does not itself alter the body of policy advocated by this grouping of thought and policy.

Anyways Sam, I think you're better educated than the poorly educated people I was referring to as a group.

I read something this morning, that I could not quite relate to (I never meet SJWs in real life, and when I rarely glimse them online, I ignore them).

Nonetheless it does give insight to what Matt and Alain must see as reciprocal anger.

As the article says though, anger as strategy only works when you are out of power. When you are supposedly in charge, blaming others wears thin.

#8 - Guardian best books - seems like a bunch of celebrities posturing. Most of the books are just NY Times best sellers, that the celebrities may have just skimmed or not even read.

So have you read them? And do you have any evidence to suggest that the people there have not?

Re 7:

I don't know why, but I suppose I'm surprised at how quickly the left establishment opinion-making has turned against charters when they were key to Race to the Top.

Also, can we stop acting like a relevant question is whether or not school choice? School choice -- for high income folks -- is here and it always has been, whether outright private schooling or in the form of high property tax districts. The question is whether everyone else gets to enjoy school choice too.

Race to the Top clerly failed so I guess, if anything, "the left establishing opinion-making" is right.

By the way, from Wikipedia's article on Race to te Top: "A coalition of civil rights organizations, including the Urban League, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition released a statement that 'Such an approach reinstates the antiquated and highly politicized frame for distributing federal support to states that civil rights organizations fought to remove in 1965'."

Despite whatever hype, it is not clear whether a) it is NECESSARILY a better model, and b) more importantly, whether the benefits associated with the charter school model can necessarily be upscaled.

Now, I think you're right that there is somewhat of a kneejerk reaction in the expected ways from the expected quarters, but just because some of what they say is expected does not mean that all of what they say should be ignored.

The way of framing it as anti-progress when in fact your position is to go "all in" on a relatively untested approach (just some few thousand of data points over the course of a short decade or two) does not add up to a mindset that would drive good policy.

An interesting article on Cuba. However it should be noticed that a lot of European countries do the same. I think, from memory, Germany will classify any infant death as a stillbirth up to 28 days after the birth.

Communists like? Who would have guessed?

#1 there are WHO guidelines on how to produce population health statistics. But, there is no independent check or penalties if the guidelines are not followed.

If things are happening as the author suggests, there must be a lot of evidence and testimonials. How a doctor feels when people die in front of his eyes but the propaganda says everything's fine? Interesting contradictions.

Listen to CBC debates on health care and you will find out.

If you have to wait two years in pain for 'elective surgery' it is for the good of the collective.

Not too far off from what we are hearing from the 'free market advocates' about those guys not losing their jobs in Indiana.

There's also the approach that sees 50% of people waiting until the grave for relief.

Two years seems short in comparison. Also, that's the time until the surgery, which often brings little improvement - access to stopgap measures to treat pain can be readily accessed unless the doctor thinks you're an addict (so wear something nice and try not to twitch too much ... :) )

Anyways, it's definitely debate worth having, and there's no universal correctness about which side is "better". Personally, and I think this is representative of one of the main differences between thinking in Canada and the USA, is that I find it offensive to think that we should prefer a system that would enable on-call access to even the most complicated surgeries, at the cost of only a few percent of the population being able to afford that level of access, and perhaps a full 50% never ever in their lives being able to afford that access.

And, considering the existence of some eugenics tendencies on this board at times, I think it's worth going out of my way to mention that a system design which reduces access to surgeries is not going to breed out the inferior genes - most of these medical problems are well after child-bearing years. Slowly slowly, genes systematically associated with debilitating disease will be identified, and techniques are presently being refined for how to knock them out. The concern is where to draw the line, not what is or will be technologically feasible.

#2 Epistocracy: I don't think democracy is mostly about getting the best leader. Everyone knows it does a poor job at that. It is mostly about:
1. Giving legitimacy to the political leadership
2. Giving the leadership good incentives to pursue the public interest.

I think epistocracy is a clear negative on 1 and at most a wash on 2. If we had a true epistocracy, the epistocrats would vote to restore broad popular voting rights.

No. It is about getting rid of the idiots without having to kill a bunch of people.

In these debates you can tell who are the really smart and wise ones. They are the ones who recognize that giving unaccountable power to a bunch of people, no matter how smart they think they are, always ends up in either them or their opponents being murdered.

"It is mostly about: 1. Giving legitimacy to the political leadership 2. Giving the leadership good incentives to pursue the public interest."

But your (1) raises the questions of just what is "legitimacy", how does democracy provide it, and might there not be better ways of providing it. And as for (2), I think public choice theory makes a pretty good case against that: concentrated benefits & diffused costs, the Curley Effect, et cetera. (This is particularly true when considering short term vs. long term interests.)

"Giving legitimacy to the political leadership"...I'm vaguely recalling something...oh yeah: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." - some dude named Jefferson

I think if the original pool is random, there is no reason for it to undermine political legitimacy of whatever leadership comes out of the process.

Is 10,000 too many? Too few?

You would also need to build in compensation mechanisms tied to previous income, or no one who makes big money would take the option, and this would tilt the system in a certain kind of way. (Naturally, I would concern about this effect in either direction, as opposed to conspiring to try to minimize representation of whatever group I don't like.)

5. A truly Coasian solution.

What's funny about the anti-school choice people, is that they are usually the ones complaining about how the government is restricting schools teaching, and making too much paperwork, and requiring testing and so on (there is a comment on the CT site along these lines). I would have thought vouchers should surely be the answer for them, they can set up schools without all these annoying government requirements (if that's what parents want of course...).

2. "Thus, it appears, Trump’s success with less-educated whites (and the absence any major offsetting movement from other groups) was the demographic key, particularly helping him in Rust Belt states and rural areas."

That pseudo-information may have been gathered from exit polls but it seems just as likely to have been an unverifiable general surmise. It was polls, after all, that indicated that Trump had no chance. Why should they have any credibility now? Perhaps the sachems of the two parties are interested in who voted for or rejected their candidate but why should the general public care and, if they do, what are they to do about it? The party insiders, the beneficiaries of a spoils system that rewards both the winners and losers, and the swarm of media types whose living depends on political analysis need the election process to maintain relevance but the man on the cul-de-sac is happy if his candidate won and sad if he didn't. There's no soul-searching going on on how to change the political direction of the country. Except among the non-productive parasites that make up the people obsessed with polls.

Are you the Chuck Martel who defeated the Umayyads?

Frankly I don't give a damn

And established the foundation for a fleeting unification of Europe under Charlemagne?

Martel was Charlemagne's grandpa.

Different polls.

The pre-election polls are biased by the fact that you don't know the difference between who answered and who will actually vote.

The exit polls draw from a pool which is perfectly representative of the people who actually voted at the selected locations.

#2. Konczal's analysis of the Trump message is one of the best that I've read. Regardless of whether it turns out to be a big con, he delivered this one constant throughout the campaign such that all of the outrageous stuff really never mattered. It was guerilla campaigning from the gut. Whether he can translate this to effective policy that does not reopen the door for the Democrats is another story. I personally have my doubts and his business ventures in the end may 'trump' his interest in being President. His December 15 speech about how he will sever ties with Trump Inc will be a defining moment.

I agree. But he fails to tell us why.

The story of the year was the collapse of the traditional Republican coalition, but in the end it was the Democrat coalition that fell apart. The margins in the blue wall states came from people who voted for Obama twice.

Three weeks before the election when it looked like Hillary was going to win resoundingly she could have made the call to Carrier. She could have had a press conference where she talked about the minor changes that she would implement to keep those jobs.

If she had done it she would be president. But she didn't. Why not?

Because her coalition in large part wants those jobs and industries gone.

In Canada the center left coalition fell apart for various reasons, ensuring the Conservatives formed the government. The Liberals, the NDP, the nationalist Bloc Quebecois, the Greens all hated each other as much as they hated the Conservatives. (that explains the over the top horror at a Republican winning. A rational reaction would be to direct quite a bit of hate towards some parts of the left coalition that led to it. Can't have that).

What changed is something that changed the subject. Trudeau isn't much, but he is cute, his name harks back to a forgotten time, and he managed by being a nothing but pleasing platitudes diminish the hostility enough to get a majority in the house. Obama did the same thing; he transcended the irreconcilable differences in the Democrat coalition.

But instead of coming to a consensus they could all agree with, the various parts moved further apart. Anti Trump fervor seemed to be a common feeling that could win, and it sure looked that way. But as Konczal says, Jobs.

Hillary could have done the same but didn't.

By the way, every election up till the last in Canada was about which center left party would shut down Alberta oil the quickest. Trudeau didn't do that, and won.

On some rare occasions, you say stuff that is not identifiably from Alberta.

Some time in the future, when the oil runs dry and an undiversified shell of an economy turns back to wheat and cows, and some number of weather-related bailouts have been fully internalized, it may start to register that the objective of the rest of Canada is not to screw Alberta in any possible way.

So, as for wanting others to accept 100% liability for accidents in transit but enjoy 100% of profits and gains (yeah, there are taxes and transfers, but this is essentially not relevant to the lived experience at the local level, across the hundreds or thousands of communities facing the associated risks) ... it just doesn't go over well.

Why don't the oil firms accept 100% liability up to a pre-defined level of environmental quality in the case of a spill? If the environmental quality demands are too high, then make the pipelines safer, monitor better, or something else ...

Point: ROC is not out to screw Alberta. But, we are not required to ignore our own interest in the process of considering other interests. It is only under the new leadership that we have seen high level politicians making the case of Alberta oil as benefitting others, as compared to only ever mentioning such things as a part of veiled insults (especially directed towards the faggy grenouilles).

Canada will benefit tremendously from global warming

Not necessarily, especially over some time frames.

When the midwest becomes a desert, I will build a house in Alberta and make the Canadians pay for it.

The same numbers (votes) give various reviewers a surprising number of answers, but I think "collapsed coalition" is not one of them.

Most number driven analysis say it was lack of motivation, turnout, that gave Hillary her loss. Rather than the coalition "falling apart" too many in the coalition just said "meh."

"Most number driven analysis say it was lack of motivation, turnout, that gave Hillary her loss. Rather than the coalition “falling apart” too many in the coalition just said “meh.”"

Trump did make important gains in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan but in Wisconsin, he received fewer absolute votes than Romney did in 2012.

Interestingly, votes for both candidates in Florida were much higher than they were in 2012 so I am not sure any of the prevailing narratives are correct yet. It is fair to say traditionally Democratic voters in Wisconsin voters abandoned Hillary but with all the analysis of "working class whites" in rust belt states, I haven't seen anyone devote much thought to what happened in Florida. If Hillary had won Florida and Wisconsin, she would have had 271 electoral votes.

Anon, it was the bashing of her by fake news, Comey and Assange that discouraged would be Clinton voters. Too many people started to believe what fake news said about her-- or at the very least to believe that she was as bad a candidate as Trump was-- which is nowhere near the truth. Fake news and propaganda were not all aimed at Right Wingers. A lot of it was from pretend Centrist and pretend Left Wing writers, aiming-- very very successfully-- to convince people NOT to vote, since they were "both terrible candidates."

I sometimes think "fake news" is overplayed, and then

Lesson? Don't post creepy pictures of kids online and don't ride the lolita express. Comet is going to go the way of Christian bakeries and Alefantis' tears will be delicious.

Thomas, I did not even think you were that nuts.

"Because her coalition in large part wants those jobs and industries gone."

I don't think they want the jobs and industries gone. They're just big picture policy wonks and it would have never occurred to them to get in the trenches and fight it out, unless there was a carefully constructed photo op involved.

If you look at this from a purely big picture point of view, Trump was a revolutionary and Clinton represented the established power bloc.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. "
Mahatma Gandhi

It is theoretically possible to argue that they don't want the jobs gone, what the left wants is the people gone. Their disdane, perhaps even loathing is palpable.

Hillary could not do a carrier deal because her base would not have it. The very idea of helping 'those people' repulsed them.

I have no idea what Hillary herself thinks. Like many politicians it is probably a refrain much like "more power, more power, more power ..."

Yes, the fake news claimed that Obama was going to herd people into FEMA camps. Yes, the disdain and loathing for the people, and the wanting them gone is palpable-- if you believe fake news like Breitbart, Fox etc. who told their viewers how much liberals hated them, every day of their lives-- and inspired them to hate liberals in return for the hatred they imagined liberals felt for them.

If you look on Reddit, Scott Alexander's board Slat Star Codex, or various other boards where politics is discussed, you will easily see the clear evidence that hatred by Right Wingers for "libtards" far outweighs any disdain that liberals are imagined to feel for Right Wingers or Trump supporters. Right Wingers and Trump supporters mostly alternate between playing the whining victim and the playing aggressive obscene insulter, while most liberals try unsuccessfully to reason with them.

That's post-truth politics for you. See the wikipedia page by that title.

You see what you want to see, that's clear

LOL. Spurted my coffee all over my computer keyboard there. Comparing Trump to Ghandhi. Certainly Trump did play the role of the "clean the swamp" anti-establishment guy very well. Once people find out that that was 100% an act, they are going to be very disappointed.

Definitely once of the best analyses of the Trump message I've read too. Certainly there were other influences on the election outcome, including Assange, Comey, Russia, easily hackable voting machines, fake news, Trump's reality TV star celebrity & billionaire-ness, his outsider status of having had nothing to do with government etc. But the analysis of Trump's political marketing and messaging is spot on.

Comey's call just before the election is not the big issue here. I'm wondering why the heck Huma Amadine had all those emails on her estranged husband's computer. Why would she even share a computed with someone who did not have the proper clearance? Sure the FBI had it in for Clinton but Amadine should have scrubbed everything. That she did not reveals someone who was so naive it isn't even funny.

$1 having lived in Honduras and visited there recently and having seen pictures of Cuba, it is hard to believe that Cuban GDP per capita is higher than Honduras's.

Thanks to Tyler for linking this interesting article. The conclusion says the paradox is solved, but I'm not so sure. Cuba's life expectancy at 79 years is the same as the U.S. ($52,000 DP/capita) and the Czech Republic ($32,000 GDP/capita PPP) and almost as high as Costa Rica at 80 years and a GDP/capita PPP of $16,000.

The last adjusted GDP/capita table places Cuba at 79 years right along El Salvador at 73.5 years and Guatemala at 72 years, a huge gap in life expectancy.

So I'm not buying it for the moment and think a more accurate measure might be in the middle.

Assuming Cuba life expectancy numbers are real (and that anyone giving politically unacceptable numbers wouldn't be put in jail), I'm curious whether they reflect lower calorie intake and more regular physical exertion reducing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A lot of people I k ow from Central America have type II diabetes sneak up on them at fairly young ages.

I assumed the life expectancy numbers are real. I just looked up that Cubans have the same caloric intake as the the British and more importantly the Czechs. Coincidence? I think not. There is a reason Cuba is known as The Czech Republic of the Caribbean.

I assumed the life expectancy numbers are real.

And yet we know from the previous link in the same item that Cuba has a phony infant mortality statistic. Which, at the in-range level of five live births per thousand declared fetal deaths, would add a phony four-tenths of a year to the life expectancy stat.

I assumed some fudging with longevity and easiest to do with births but assumed it wasn't nearly enough to alter my argument. Something looks wrong. Using the alternate to PPP adjustment, Cuba is at $7,300 GDP/capita with a similar life expectancy of Costa Rica which has a GDP/capita of $13,000 . Shave off the 0.4 years and Cuba is at 78.7 and Costa Rica is at 79.4. The life expectancy for countries near Cuba in GDP/capita are Paraguay 74.0; Jamaica 73.3; El Salvador 73.5 ***Cuba 78.3*** Guatemala 71.9

A better health care system cant shoot your life expectancy *that* much over countries that are otherwise at similar standards of living. At least I doubt the 5 to 6 years. They must take a lot of NR in Cuba.

They took quite extreme measures to eradicate various diseases, they forcefully quarantine people, they have 4x the doctors per capita of any other country, they force women to get abortions instead of having disabled children, I think they have lower crime than many Latin American countries... lots of moving parts here

Cuba is poorer because Cubans are more self sufficient, producing more for their family consumption than for the consumption of others.

The highest gdp occurs when no one does any work for their own consumption.

Ie, if no one did their own housekeeping, cooking, shopping, laundry, or even self care - you pay a valet to strip you down, wash you, wipe your ass, brush your teeth, comb your hair, dress you for bed, and pull the covers over you - gdp will be higher than in an economy where individuals do everything themselves, by using robots they built, perhaps, and pay no one directly or indirectly to work. If you spend nothing, and that is economy wide,, gdp is zero.

2a) it is a strange new world. The president-elect has tweeted "retribution" this morning, for US companies that build offshore projects.

That is one crazy turn for the Republican party.

(As a lesser note, his hotels don't count because they aren't factories. At this point that is just background economic illiteracy.)

I gave in and followed Trump on Twitter. Better to know what's coming.

Don't Trump hotels employ only American workers earning $80,000 a year just like they would have earned in the leftist 60s union power factory economy? He ran promising to take the white working class back to 1960 based on how he runs his businesses, right? Isn't 1960 when America was Great!

Or was 1850 when America was Great!?

...when Trump would have been exploiting Irish immigrant labor to build infrastructure.

This is the post-truth politics era. See the wikipedia page by that name. Truth does not matter in the least now.

wait until Mexico imposes tariffs on US agricultural products in retaliation! Also, what happens to the new trade advantage that foreign based multinationals will have by establishing manufacturing in Mexico. Don't think Trump can retaliate against those companies. But maybe he pulls the US out of the WTO and instigates a world wide trade war. Let's here it for Smoot-Hawley round 2!!

Now that American companies are banned from profiting overseas (OK, this hasn't actually happened yet), this should significantly improve the competitive position of basically every major company in the world except for American ones.

The financiers in NY might not even care. They'll just move their money where the profits are, like they always do.

But on the bright side, it might be possible to bring back a million factory jobs for a few years before the combination of higher wages and high technology kills these jobs for a second time around, this time permanently.

In the meantime, US corporations will have rubbed all partners the wrong way and have reduced access to foreign consumer markets or inputs required for their supply chains.

He sure does have a convincing "you're fired" though.

There already has been the creation of 2 million American manufacturing jobs since the trough, however I am curious how many of those are oil/gas jobs.

Certainly some of the 2 million jobs created since the trough were in marginally competitive positions or where value added of labour is relatively low, but quite a lot of high value added jobs would be included in this total.

Presumably manufacturing jobs shifted to the US as a result of protectionist measures would have much lower value added on average because only jobs where the difference resulting from the protectionist measure would be high enough to justify moving production, which implies that very few good jobs would be created, regardless of the numbers.

As a throwback to "Best movies of 2016," I watched "City of Gold" last night.

Yes, it captures what many of us see as the greatness of LA. My dad was a white guy who spoke workable Spanish. He loved all the joints in Boyle Heights. The movie gave me nostalgia, and a hunger for today ..

2b, I stopped when the clueless author said that epistocracy was a libertarian concept; it was clear that the article was a fact-free zone at that point.

Must save you a lot of time, and you must end up reading very few articles, if your criteria for reading is that the author understand a very tiny and not very influential part of the Right Wing voter coalition called Libertarians. Almost no one cares to understand Libertarians-- least of all the establishment Republicans, who simply pick up whatever Libertarian ideas they can misinterpret for the purpose of justifying crony capitalism.

Ah, so then he should have read on and learned that the educated voted disproportionately for Trump. I guess the smartest people are the most easily fooled by "fake news" in your mind

#2, Epistocracy Section

The final result would probably depend on the type of epistocracy that was designed. The article doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know, namely that an epistocracy could favor Republicans since older white men are fairly in-tuned to politics. The author at least notes an obvious point - Hillary/Democratic voters include two extremes: NAM and well-educated whites (and also Asians). How epistocracy is implemented probably affects the outcome in two ways: (1.) the threshold for voting, and (2.) the nature of questions. If the threshold is set really high (say, high percent of questions that must be answered correctly and higher difficulty level questions), this setup could favor liberal whites and others (think whites who tend to have post-graduate degrees, maybe the minority of Asians who are actually passionate about politics (but that number is inconsequential)). The nature of questions is another area. I get the impression (maybe there are surveys out there that someone could find to contradict this) that most people, especially because of the "horse race" nature of politics, who do have knowledge of politics have knowledge of things like who is in power, who is the speaker of the house, etc. What I would like to see is questions geared towards policy specifics, like what approximate percent of federal spending is dedicated towards defense spending, etc. My anecdotal, non-scientific experience is that conservative whites who watch a lot of news (basically Fox News) can tell you a lot about politics but come up really short on policy matters. Actually, that even seems to be true often times for well-informed/intelligent liberals. Anyway, expanding questions beyond standard politics to policy/government matters and setting up certain thresholds would likely help the Ezra Klein, SWPL type. The upside would *probably* be less stupid stuff like putting in place tax cuts during expansionary times that we know will result in deficits and maybe less needless wars, but the huge downside would be probably be limited recognition that demographics matter (or, you may think all that's great depending on your political views).

Thanks for the link to the article with interesting updates on the great artist Martha Argerich. She needs to put out a Christmas album (no joke - Mozart, Mendelssohn, Bach, and other piano composers who did the hard work that allowed her to express her indisputable genius wrote lots of appropriate Christmas music for the piano ). (To understand this comment one should have some understanding of the Catholic liturgical calendar - which is centered on several seasons... Easter being the obvious leader - although those of us who passionately wish Adam had not messed up profoundly wish that were not true - the Season After Pentecost being a good one too as it encompasses most of the stories and paintings we love - Lent being a good one too for people blessed enough to understand that yes they have been more loved by others than loving of others - but Christmas is the best (!!!). If Adam had not fallen there would have been no need for Easter. Christmas would be as beautiful as it is, however, whether Adam had fallen in his foolishness or not. Hence the lack of any downside to the Argerich Yuletide Concert for which I hope.

Taiwan's key value is in providing a model and an impetus for a non-unified China, a group of independent Chinese states with a shared cultural heritage but unique local attributes (including but not limited to their own languages, which China insists on calling dialects).

Between pronouncements of China's impending collapse on the one hand or it's rise to unprecedented dominance in a globalized world (remember when we freaked out about Japan's rise? China has ten times Japan's population, more than the population of both American continents combined.) on the other hand, this strikes me as the only happy future for everyone involved (except the CCP, hence why this idea is revolting to them). There are obvious tendencies for Chinese centralization but I wonder if strong incentives for powerful external players to combat that will have an effect.

Yuja Wang: Maxim magazine favorite
Martha Argerich: Gramophone magazine favorite

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